Tonight's prediction: Jeff Green goes BIG tonight

Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

It was supposed to be a coming out party for #8, but he finished 0-4 from the field with only three rebounds and one steal in the loss to the Heat on Tuesday. After some opening night jitters, I'm betting Jeff Green lives up to the hype tonight.

I'm not just saying this because I drafted him with the final (speculative) pick in my fantasy basketball draft. If you look at his game against Miami, he really didn't play that poorly in his limited minutes. Sure, his stat line wasn't impressive, but we're selling short what Jeff not necessarily did, but what he showed against Miami. As Ainge reminds us, he went strong to the rim on his shot attempts and attacked the defense:

Ainge: 'Our team's going to be good'

"Jeff had a tough matchup the other night. We were playing him strictly at the 4, we didn't really have any matchup advantages for him like he had in the preseason, and we weren't trying to exploit those matchups, because LeBron was playing most of the game, the first three quarters anyway, when Jeff was on the court. So, I just think it's one game. I didn't think he was tentative. I think he went to the hole strong twice. He didn't finish, but he shot four free throws, he missed a couple shots that he had made, you know, those driving right hand lay-ins that just didn't go in. But I wouldn't read anything into that."

We'd all be singing a different tune had he thrown down against Bosh and torched Lewis in the paint with those silky Worthy layups, but it's a make-or-miss league and the bottom line is, JG didn't produce on Tuesday even if he did play with the same aggressiveness that he showed in the preseason. There were definitely times when he looked a little shell shocked, especially after that Bosh block. He got lost on a few defensive rotations, but I thought he handled himself well in one-on-one coverage against LeBron. He didn't back down from the challenge and kept the MVP from the rim.

Kevin Garnett: 'Jeff Green's a lot more aggressive' (via Ben Rohrbach)

Look out for Green in the next two weeks. He's vowed to "play with more heart, plain and simple" and the way the schedule opens up, he'll be able to utilize his size, strength, and speed in the home-and-home's against the Wizards and Bucks. Milwaukee lumbers in the front court so look for Green to drive past slower defenders tonight. Washington's a little younger and quicker so expect to see Green use his length to disrupt their offense on the defensive end and shoot more from the perimeter on the other end. The dude is a walking, talking mismatch and we're going to see that in full display over the next five games.

I'll put my money where my mouth is: ESPN Fantasy Basketball project Jeff Green to average 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and roughly one assist, one three pointer, one steal, and one block a night. The fantasy gurus at ESPN clearly didn't watch the preseason. I think he shatters those numbers. So, any time he tops any of those statistical expectations (i.e. scores 12 points or has more than 1 assist/steal/block per game), I'll donate $5 to the Red Cross Hurricane Sandy relief fund. I know it's not much, but I'd like to encourage everybody to do what you can. Click on the link if you get a chance.

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