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With Kevin Love out, the man the Cleveland Cavaliers are turning to against the Boston Celtics tonight in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals is…
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue announced after shootaround Sunday that Green will get the call to replace Love, the five-time All-Star who will miss tonight’s game because of a concussion suffered five minutes into Cleveland’s 109-99 Game 6 win Friday night after banging heads with Boston’s Jayson Tatum.
“I think he attacked the small guys, the switches, and took his time, did a good job attacking, rebounded the ball well,” Lue said. “I just think defensively, being able to switch and guard multiple positions, that’s huge for us. He was able to switch a lot more, we were able to do a lot of different stuff defensively.”
While basically playing Love’s minutes in Game 6, Green finished with 14 points, three rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 31 minutes. Green put up a 4-of-10 shooting performance from the field and made good on all five of his free-throw attempts. He finished with a plus-minus rating of plus-10 in a game the Cavaliers won by 10 points.
The 31-year-old Green, the fifth overall pick of the 2007 draft by none other than the Celtics, averaged 10.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists during the regular season in 23.4 minutes. His production in the playoffs has dipped, as he’s averaging 7.6 points, 2.4 boards and 1.4 assists in 22.6 minutes.
Green, signed by general manager Koby Altman to a one-year deal for the NBA minimum of $2.3 last summer, says he is prepared to answer the bell tonight in Game 7.
“It’s a chance to go to the Finals,” Green said. “I’m prepared. So, it will be fun.”
When Green scores 10 or more points in a game during the playoffs, Cleveland is 4-1. Boston is a 2.5-point favorite in the game.
Love, who is with the Cavaliers in Boston, is averaging a double-double in the postseason and is Cleveland’s second-leading scorer (13.9) and leading rebounder (10.0).
Can Green help salve the wound Love’s absence caused for Cleveland and help LeBron James reach an eighth consecutive NBA Finals?
“It’s always a challenge trying to win a playoff game,” James said.”No matter who’s in the lineup or who’s not in the lineup.”