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Jeff Green on M&M: ‘I’m finding my role’ with Celtics

04.04.13 at 1:07 pm ET

Celtics forward Jeff Green checked in with Mut & Merloni to discuss his recent stellar play, the difficulty teams will face when playing the Celtics when Kevin Garnett comes back, and the firing of Rutgers coach Mike Rice.

On Tuesday, ESPN’s Outside the Lines aired several hours of footage of Rice’s disgraceful behavior during Rutgers basketball practices, including various forms of physical and verbal abuse toward his players. Rice was fired the following day.

“You don’t want to believe it because you don’t want to see anything like that,” Green said. “He’s fired now, there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s in the past, you just got to move on from it. Coach Rice had his tactics of how he handled his players and now he’s suffering the consequences from it.

“When you’re dealing with college kids, you don’t want to kill their confidence, and I think he did that to a lot of the players with his language, his verbal abuse, and the physical abuse from pushing and throwing the ball.”

With the season-ending injury to Rajon Rondo, as well as the continued aging of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, Green’s role has changed. He now is typically viewed as the focal point of the Celtics offense.

“When I first got traded here, I didn’t know my role,” Green said. “I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what I was going to be able to do on the floor. So, compared to now, the floor’s just wide open. … I’m finding my role and I’m playing it to the best of my ability.”

In Wednesday night’s 98-93 victory over the Pistons, Green led the way with 34 points. Since coming to the Celtics, Green has been asked many times to be more aggressive, and he has been doing that recently.

Said Green: “In Georgetown the game was, ‘Share the ball.’ … When you come to the league, it’s hard to change that demeanor. It’s hard to change your outlook on the game when you’re coming from a system like the Princeton offense. It took a while for me to get used to being aggressive each play, looking for your own shot each play, being selfish each play.”

Green missed all of last season after undergoing open heart surgery. Though he is feeling much better, there still are times when he feels the effects of his previous condition.

“There are still times where my body gets fatigued,” Green said. “Now it’s not as easy, but my body still gets fatigued from the countless lifting, and the traveling is probably the biggest thing. Going to different time zones and I’m not eating right because you don’t have everything that you need there. But it is a lot better than the beginning of the season, so I have to be thankful for that.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Celtics news, visit the team page at

On the new-look lineup: “I definitely want to see Kevin back on the floor. That lineup creates a ton of mismatches, like I said, and it’s tough to guard. You’ve got both great shooters and bigs with Kevin and [Brandon] Bass. Myself and Paul create mismatches down low in the post or on the perimeter. Then you’ve got Avery [Bradley] who’s handling the ball and can shoot. Who do you come off of? That’s the dilemma that teams are going to be in, especially when we’re all healthy.”

On potential matchups in the playoffs: “To be honest with you, I really haven’t looked [at the matchups.] The East is so bundled up. Everybody’s a game and a half, two games behind each other and we still have eight games, seven games left, something like that. Things could change in the next week and a half. We could move up and be six, we can move down, you never know. I don’t feed into the seedings right now.”

Read More: Jeff Green, Kevin Garnett, Mike Rice, Paul Pierce
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