In last night’s loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, Tommy Heinsohn made a comment that struck me as odd. During the fourth quarter, during a period of time when the Celtics desperately needed scoring, Tommy said something to the effect that this was the time that Jordan Crawford needed to take over. Jordan Crawford?
Now I am not against Jordan Crawford or his game in any way. It’s been a pleasant surprise to see his decision making finally catch up to his scoring ability. Certainly, in a time of scoring need, Crawford would be someone you’d look to for a jolt. However, I found it very odd that we wouldn’t be looking to Jeff Green to take over in the fourth quarter. After all, wasn’t Jeff Green the consensus number-one option on offense going in to this season? Hasn’t Jeff acknowledged to the media that he wants to be the go-to guy on this team? Why wouldn’t Tommy Heinsohn say that this was the time that Jeff Green needed to take over?
I’ve always enjoyed listening to Tommy Heinsohn, mostly because he’s an unabashed and boisterous homer. It’s sort of like watching the game with your slightly drunk grandfather who is a die-hard fan. It’s fun. But Tommy also has sneaky good insight. It can be easy to forget, when he’s complaining about bogus calls, that the man was and is a truly great basketball mind. This is a man who has been involved in 10 of the Celtics championship seasons. If nothing else, he knows good basketball. So when Tommy says Jordan Crawford needs to take over and makes no comment about Jeff Green, I notice.
The comment got me thinking. Why wouldn’t Tommy think to go to Jeff in the fourth quarter? Why wouldn’t we look to our team’s leading scorer? Maybe it’s because Tommy is already willing to go to a place that we fans have been very hesitant to go. Maybe we need to admit that Jeff Green doesn’t have it. Maybe what we’ve already seen of Jeff Green, is Jeff Green.
The numbers that lead as this post’s title are Jeff Green’s point totals by quarter this season. 37-48-39-30. There’s an obvious fourth quarter drop-off. If you look at the game-by-game breakdown, it becomes even more depressing. (Toronto-5, Milwaukee-2, Detroit-0, Memphis-0, Utah-0, Orlando-2, Miami-10, Orlando-8, Charlotte-3) Jeff Green has scored three points or less during the fourth quarter in six of this season’s nine games.
This is our leading scorer? This is our first option on offense? This is our go-to guy?
Now I’m not ready to pass final judgment on what Jeff Green can be. Nine games is not a large sample size, but it is a pattern and it is something worth mentioning. Most importantly, it’s something that people who know good basketball are already taking as a given. Jeff Green is not the Celtics go-to guy.