The clock is winding down, you have to get a score, who do you give the ball to? Paul Pierce is the name that most would think of first. Or perhaps Rajon Rondo, despite his poor showing in Friday night's overtime loss. Or even Kevin Garnett or Jason Terry. I wonder, however, how far down the list you'd get before coming up with Jeff Green's name. Yet when Ben Rohrbach broke down the numbers (with "clutch" meaning "either team within five points with five minutes remaining in regulation and overtime") here are the surprising results.
After finishing as one of the 10 best scorers in the clutch last season, Pierce has been atrocious this year, shooting 26.1 percent (down from 51.0% a year ago). He’s gotten to the rim only once in almost 60 minutes of clutch play. In fact, he’s shooting just 1-of-11 inside the 3-point line in such situations.
For all his faults this season, Green has been the C’s best performer in the clutch, averaging 38.4 points (60.0 FG%, 60.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%) and 14.9 rebounds per 48 minutes. Now, if only the Celtics could get him to play with that much assertiveness the rest of the game.
Check the link for more interesting stats and bullets on several players (KG and Rondo have been pretty good this year).
Obviously Jeff Green isn't getting plays called for him in the clutch. So he's the beneficiary of team collapsing on Garnett or helping on Pierce or Rondo or whomever. Still, you need guys that can step up and fill that role when you need them and so far it seems like Jeff Green is doing his job well.
Oh, and I tend to think that over the course of the year Paul Pierce's stats are going to even out a bit. Call me an optimist but he's done it so often in the past that I can't not believe in him.