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The Real Jeff Green Stands Up... and Throws It Down

Jeff Green has officially arrived in Boston after slamming home a monstrous dunk over Jazz center Al Jefferson. It's exactly the kind of aggression Celtics fans have been looking for out of Green. But here's the question: Is it here to stay?

Jeff Green goes up, and Al Jefferson goes down.
Jeff Green goes up, and Al Jefferson goes down.
Jared Wickerham

BOSTON - Jared Sullinger packed up his things, turned to Jeff Green and said, "Congratulations for making No. 1."

That, of course, meant making the No. 1 highlight on ESPN's SportsCenter Top Plays, a staple in the network's recap of the day's sporting events. Whether it's No. 1 or No. 10, it'll be there.

Hopefully you've watched it by now: Green drove from near the corner of the court into the paint, rose up, and slammed it home with one hand right over Utah's Al Jefferson, who fell victim to the vicious dunk.

Hey Jeff, good to see you!

The dunk was just two points, but really, it was so much more than that. Not only did it fire up Green (who received a tech for staring down Jefferson after) and his teammates, but it may have been the final straw to wake up Green for good.

OK, maybe we're getting ahead of ourselves. Either way, it was certainly welcomed.

"It was huge. In a lot of ways. It was a great dunk," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "It was great for the team. It was great to see all the guys cheering for him. Great to see the crowd. So those are little plays that will just keep him going, and it keeps him aggressive."

Green hasn't been the same player we were teased with during the C's preseason. He's looked much more hesitant out on the court - almost like he's holding back. Well, whatever he was holding back was unloaded on poor Jefferson Wednesday night.

After the game, it was interesting to hear him admit what so many had noticed.

"It felt great," Green said of the dunk. "I mean, I have been playing a little lackadaisical, as far as the effort. Prior [to] a couple games. It felt good to get that out. It kind of builds your confidence up and gets you going a little bit. So it felt good to get that to go down."

So what was going through Green's mind after the dunk? Most likely whatever Kevin Garnett was screaming into his ear.

"I heard Kevin Garnett," Green said. "I can't tell you [what he said]. I mean, use your imagination. Think of Kevin Garnett - let's just say it was explicit. He said it in the media the other day, what I need to be. So, that's basically what he said."

Garnett said that Green had to be an, ahem, [expletive], at times. Green got the message loud and clear, and also says that he knows that.

"I need to be myself. Nobody needs to tell me to be aggressive," he said. "It's something that I see, it's something that I need to do."

Green along with Leandro Barbosa anchored the bench unit Wednesday night. Chris Wilcox added some much needed energy at times, and looks to be getting his game back on track. Courtney Lee and Sullinger also chipped in. Those five players each played more than 15 minutes, with Green leading the way at just over 27 minutes.

"They take pressure off of us because they play extended minutes when they're playing well," Paul Pierce said. "You know you look up, I played under 30 minutes, I can't remember the last time that's happened. Kevin's under 30 minutes. So when they're playing well it really takes a lot of pressure off of us knowing that we don't have to play heavy minutes and really get tired in the late stages of the game."

Jason Terry wasn't an official member of the bench unit tonight, but there will certainly be nights when he is. He'd played alongside Green in the second unit numerous times, and knows that the best is yet to come.

"It's exiting to see, Terry said. "You know, what Jeff Green has been through, he's been able to persevere now and getting his confidence back. He's an outstanding player. It's all about getting a feel, getting a rhythm, and confidence. And tonight he showed you what he's capable of doing off the dribble."

The C's hopped a plane to Brooklyn after the win, but upon touching down, we know what they'll probably tune in to.

"It was a good play," Green said one last time. "Hopefully it'll be on SportsCenter. We'll see."

Cue the music!

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