After the game last night Jeff Green confessed to the Boston Herald that he was very much aware of his struggles against the Heat:
“I don’t know that I played at all,” he said. “It starts on the defensive end, and I wasn’t as aggressive defensively as I should be, but that will change. The first couple of minutes, adrenaline kicked in and I tired quickly, but that’s not an excuse. I have to do a way better job.” . . .
Green played 23 minutes last night and managed just three points (on 0-4 shooting), three rebounds a steal, and a turnover. I don’t know what Green’s PER is (I checked: It’s 6.37. John Hollinger is sitting somewhere cackling to himself.) but I think it’s safe to say Green had a pretty rough night. And that’s ok.
Green is returning after a year away from NBA basketball and nothing he did this offseason could fully prepare him for last night. The speed of an actual NBA game is not even remotely comparable to that of preseason (as Jared Sullinger also learned the hard way last night) and the speed of the Miami Heat Flying Death Machine is even more ludicrous. Add going one-on-one with LeBron to the equation and it would be a borderline miracle if Green had anything remotely resembling a good night. And yes I am aware that Green also got shredded in the post by the very spooky ghost of Rashard Lewis, but I’m still willing to give the guy a bit of a break. Preseason Jeff Green is still somewhere in there, but no amount of one-on-one with basketball god Chris Copeland could prepare Jeff Green for the speed and talent on display in an actual NBA game.
Will Jeff Green live up to the James Worthy comparison? Probably not, but I wouldn’t expect last night’s performance to be standard either. And no one is taking it harder than Jeff Green. “I didn’t know if I played at all … I have to do a way better job.” This isn’t Jermaine O’Neal here guys, Green wanted to come back to Boston and show the fans what he could do for this team. Kevin Garnett, Jason Terry, and Jared Sullinger all had rough nights too, and I’m not about to hit the panic button on any of them either. Green will face off against Mike Dunleavy at home on Friday and then twice against Trevor ‘Worst Preseason Ever’ Ariza. If Green can’t be productive in any of those games, I’ll start getting worried.
Follow Jordan on Twitter where he’ll apologize for Jeff Green some more: @OffensiveG.