The Boston Celtics have thrived amid adversity this season, relying on the one-two punch of veterans Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to beat the prevailing NBA odds and prove that their window of opportunity for another championship hasn’t closed just yet. But they haven’t been doing it alone — 26-year-old Jeff Green has been a big part of their success lately.
While season-ending injuries to Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger and Leandro Barbosa have come to define the C’s 2012-13 campaign, the fact that they’ve not only maintained their relevance in the Eastern Conference playoff picture but also exceeded expectations is a testament to the depth of their roster.
While veterans Jason Terry and Avery Bradley help round out a backcourt charged with the task of filling Rondo’s shoes, Green has stepped forward as a reliable offensive option, too.
He’s part of the reason why the Celtics still have 22-1 odds of winning the NBA championship. Considering that just weeks ago president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and the C’s were widely expected to be sellers at the deadline and not candidates to move into the No. 5 or 6 spot in the conference, that’s something Boston fans can take pride in.
For Green, the year has been an inspiring one. After missing all of the 2011-12 season with a heart condition, the return to the court has allowed the one-time fifth overall pick to flourish. While a promising alternative weapon throughout the early years of his career with the Oklahoma City Thunder, he’s now a major contributor for a legitimate contender in the Celtics.
In order to live up to the “legitimate contender” tag, though, the Celtics will need to find a way to continue to win games. If they find a way to handle the current West Coast road trip, then they’ll likely rise in the conference standings. For that, the C’s need continued production out of their swingman. Having already beaten the odds and found his way back to the court, Green could be ready to do that for the Celtics.
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