When Andre Miller, then of the Trail Blazers, scored 52 points in a game at Dallas three years ago, Doc Rivers said it would take a few more monumental games for opposing teams to change their scouting reports on defending Miller.
The same, he said, was true of Jeff Green, who scored 43 points in Monday’s 105-103 loss to the Miami Heat. Green responded in the first quarter Wednesday against New Orleans with 11 points but he scored just 2 points the rest of the way in the Celtics’ difficult 87-86 loss to the Hornets at New Orleans Arena.
Green got off to a blazing start, hitting his first four shots, including a 3-pointer. Yet, he attempted just two shots in the second half and was held scoreless, hardly an impressive response to his career night.
The Hornets made Green play defense in the second half as he was assigned to 6-foot-10-inch Ryan Anderson, a matchup that proved a struggle. In the fourth quarter, when the Celtics needed an offensive boost, Green did not attempt a shot in his five minutes.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said opposing teams lack time to make serious adjustments to how they defend Green.
“They are on alert, but I don’t think you can do a lot about it,” Rivers said before Wednesday’s game. “It’s the regular season. The Hornets had one practice [since Monday]. It’s tough to say, ‘OK, now we’re going to do this.’ It’s tough in the regular season to make wholesale changes.”
As Rivers noted, Green usually flourishes in one-on-one play. He was able to score at ease against Miami’s Shane Battier and Chris Andersen, though he struggled against LeBron James.
“When we put him at the 4 [power forward], we can create the speed at the matchup,” Rivers said. “There’s not a lot you’re going to do unless you trap him. And usually when they do that, we put him on the floor with a ton of shooting. We’re daring you to go help.”
The Celtics definitely want to play Green more at power forward.
The Celtics welcomed back Kevin Garnett following a two-game absence with a strained left adductor muscle and flu-like symptoms. He finished with 20 points and six rebounds in 29 minutes but appeared fatigued in playing the entire fourth quarter, failing to record a rebound.
Garnett said he was more energetic than the past few days but it was difficult to miss the 2-point loss to Miami.
Check the clock
Although it may not have made a difference, the Hornets received some extra time to make their comeback with a clock issue late in the fourth quarter. After Paul Pierce fouled Anderson as he attempted a 3-point shot with 33.5 left in the game and the Celtics leading, 86-83, the clock operator called over lead official Joey Crawford, who was visibly irritated with the request.
Crawford walked over and the operator apparently said he started the clock 0.2 seconds too early on the previous play. Crawford, who appeared to misinterpret the operator, called for two full seconds to be placed back on the clock, so Anderson attempted his free throws at 35.5 seconds.
After Anderson hit two of three free throws, Pierce missed a jumper with 15.6 seconds left. Anthony Davis’s winning tip-in was with 0.3 seconds left.
Terry has no regrets
The dunk has spread across YouTube and drawn reactions all over Twitter, but Jason Terry has no regrets about attempting to defend James during the Miami star’s vicious dunk on him in the second quarter Monday.
After Terry’s steal of Norris Cole’s bad pass, Terry dribbled in the backcourt, where he was stripped by Dwyane Wade. Wade whirled a pass to Mario Chalmers, who passed to Cole, who then lofted an alley-oop to the charging James, who dunked on an unassuming Terry.
Following the dunk, James stood over the fallen Terry and stared, prompting a technical foul.
James and Terry have a feud going back to the 2011 Finals, when Terry’s Mavericks defeated James’s Heat in six games. Terry was asked about the play at shootaround Wednesday.
“I’m not even commenting,” he said. “No comment. Zero. I have none. A basketball play.
“My reaction was when the fans were cheering and I went up and knocked down the technical. That’s a great reaction.
“Wasn’t the first, won’t be the last, and that’s the comment I have for that situation.”
In Cleveland, James told reporters, “It was one of my better ones. And the fact that it happened to J.T. made it even that much sweeter. Because I think we all know what J.T. talks, and he talks too much sometimes, and I’m glad it happened to him.”
White stays put
The Celtics officially signed forward D.J. White for the remainder of the season, saying it is a multiyear deal, meaning a nonguaranteed contract for next season.
Also, Rivers said he wants to keep team continuity and sign Shavlik Randolph, whose second 10-day contract expires Thursday.
Rivers was adamant about keeping the roster intact for the final month of the regular season.