I made a post last week concerning Jeff Green's ability to guard LeBron that became a small discussion. I see him (and Rondo, but that topic has been beaten to death) as the Celtics keys to this series and have paid a lot of attention to Green's play in these first two games at the American Airlines Arena.
Unfortunatly, LeBron has man handled Green on the offensive end during both games but I think Jeff's defensive play was one of the main reasons we lost last nights game. I'm tempted to rewatch the game as I'm a bit fuzzy on when Paul checked in and out, but its fair to say that Green was guarding LeBron for a fair portion of this game. James played 44 minutes, Pierce played 32 and Green for 22.
Green did not start out that bad halfway through the 1st when Pierce left with whatever that was, forcing LeBron into a missed jump shot and a (missed) contested layup. However, LeBron then had a momentum turning alley-oop from D-Wade that moved the game from 16-19 to 18-19 and led to the Heat's first lead. Allowing these types of plays is devestating to the Celtics chances, especially when they are nursing a 3 point lead. Shortly after this alley-oop James had two lay-ups, including an and-one.
Green's defensive inpetitude was most on display when LeBron crossed him the EFFF over at the three point line and (luckily) missed a wide open 3. Green does not have the speed to try and neglect LeBron's full court break skills and on the other end, LeBron's un-matchable speed negates Green's best ability: his open court speed and ballhandling.
Pierce didn't do much better, but if the Heat are going to put LeBron at the 4 we need to put Jeff Green in at Power Forward, slide KG up to the 5 and teach Green how to stay in front of LeBron. Some of the baskets on Green were allowable, but sliding KG down on defense to the 3 creates too many mis-matches for the C's. Especially with their rotating defense.
Thoughts? Go C's!