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OKC Thunder: Jeff Green forced to learn on the job

BY DARNELL MAYBERRY Modified: November 7, 2008 at 9:23 am •  Published: November 7, 2008
Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers is not really an expert on Thunder forward Jeff Green’s game. Rivers just plays one as a proud father.

Rivers’ oldest son, Jeremiah, played one season with Green at Georgetown before transferring to Indiana.

"I know him as well as anybody,” Rivers said of Green. "I was at a lot of those games.”

But unlike the good old days in Washington, D.C., where Green excelled from the start and led Georgetown to a 67-27 record over his three seasons, Rivers witnessed Green’s baptism by fire continue Wednesday night in the Thunder’s 96-83 loss to his Celtics club.

Celtics forward Paul Pierce was the latest in a string of tough assignments for Green, who already has also gone head to head with Milwaukee’s Richard Jefferson, Houston’s Ron Artest and Minnesota’s Mike Miller.

But Green has performed admirably. Jefferson had 20 points and eight rebounds. But Artest and Miller scored just 10 points each, and Pierce had 20 points but needed 20 shots.

Next up is Utah’s Andrei Kirilenko tonight against the Jazz in Salt Lake City.

"It’s a learning process having to guard some of the best forwards in the game,” Green said. "It’s still more to come. I just go back, look at tape and see how I played them, and the next time we play them I just have to come back with a little more different approach because they’ll probably be expecting the same thing.”

Kirilenko, although currently Utah’s sixth man, ranks second on the Jazz in minutes played and third in scoring at 14.8 points. He’s one of the league’s best defenders and most versatile players.

"I think it’s a great opportunity for him to learn what these guys do because he’ll be guarding them the majority of his career,” said Desmond Mason.


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