November 30, 2013

Green's 31 lifts rolling Celtics to another victory

Boston won for the third time in four games, and now has the most wins in the struggling Atlantic Division.

The Associated Press

BOSTON — In the heyday of the New Big Three, when the Boston Celtics were winning the 2008 NBA title and going back to the finals two years later, there arose in the TD Garden a new tradition: Gino Time.

click image to enlarge

Boston Celtics' Jared Sullinger, left, blocks Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Friday, Nov. 29, 2013.

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

SATURDAY’S GAME

WHO: Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks

WHEN: 9 p.m.

TELEVISION: CSN

When the Celtics were winning and the game was in hand by the final TV timeout, the arena would play a disco-era video of a shaggy man in a tight T-shirt that said "Gino." Players on the bench and fans in the stands would swivel their hips along with him to celebrate as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

There hadn't been much Gino Time in Boston this season, now that Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are in Brooklyn and Doc Rivers is in Los Angeles.

Until the Cleveland Cavaliers came to town.

"Nobody's told me about that," first-year coach Brad Stevens said after the Celtics scored 18 of the game's first 20 points and coasted to a 103-86 victory over Cleveland on Friday night. "Maybe they thought we wouldn't have a game out of reach."

Jeff Green scored 31 points, the most by a Boston player this season, and Jordan Crawford had his third career triple-double to lead the Celtics to their third victory in four games. It was their biggest margin of victory of the season, and the first time they have won at home with such a comfortable margin that the fans could frolic with "Gino."

"They don't know about Gino," injured point guard Rajon Rondo, the only holdover from the two-time Eastern Conference champions, said in the locker room after watching the game in street clothes as he recovers from reconstructive knee surgery. "We've got to get a couple more wins."

Crawford had 11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for Boston, which at 7-11 has the most wins in the Atlantic Division and is a half-game out of first place. Avery Bradley scored eight of his 21 points in the first quarter, when the Celtics jumped to an 18-2 lead.

They maintained a double-digit edge for the rest of the game.

"We got great defensive stops to begin the game with. That's how we got that lead," Green said. "We are finally putting everything together. We've had our ups and downs throughout the season ... but it was good to put an all-around good game together."

Crawford had four points, four rebounds and three assists after one quarter. He said he asked Stevens to stay in the game so he could complete the triple-double, reaching the milestone on a pair of free throws with 94 seconds to play.

"I'm whispering in his ear," he said. "I appreciate it, though."

Stevens said he was surprised to hear that Crawford had reached the milestone and called his performance "shockingly effective."

"He had a triple-double? Crawford did? Holy smokes, I had no idea," he told reporters afterward, looking at the stat sheet to confirm it. "He had 11 rebounds? Jordan Crawford had 11 rebounds? ... It's good that our guards rebound. Our guards need to rebound to win."

Dion Waiters scored 21 points and Kyrie Irving had 17 for the Cavaliers, who lost their fifth straight game and fell to 1-9 on the road this season. Cleveland scored just 10 points in the first quarter, its worst output for any quarter this season, and lost for the eighth time in nine games.

(Continued on page 2)

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