BOSTON -- On the Darryl Dawkins dunk meter, Jeff Green's fourth quarter slam over Al Jefferson on Wednesday night was somewhere between a right-handed-spine-chiller-supreme and a turbo sexophonic delight. Green caught the ball in the corner, drove hard on Paul Millsap and then went up and over Jefferson in one swooping, thunderous moment that sent the TD Garden into an orgiastic spasm of delirium.
He's too nice to say it in these words, but this was Green's fuck-you dunk, a giant middle finger extended in the direction of everyone who has called him out for his lethargic play at times this season. Everyone that is, including Green himself.
"It felt great," he said. "I mean, I have been playing a little lackadaisical as far as the effort before the prior few games or so. It boosted your confidence up and it gets you going a little bit, so it felt good to get that to go down."
Green's dunk did more than get him going en route to 16 points and four rebounds in a 98-93 win over the Jazz on Wednesday. It was galvanizing for a player, a team and crowd in ways that goes far beyond a simple two points in the box score.
"That was huge," Doc Rivers said. "In a lot of ways. It was a great dunk. It was great for the team. It was great to see all the guys cheering for him. It was great to see the crowd. Those are little plays that will just keep him going."
It's no secret that the Celtics have been demanding more from Green. He got off to a rough start this season where he did -- or didn't do -- all the things that have fueled his critics over the years. He wasn't aggressive on offense, he was slow to react on defense and he was non-existent on the boards, while the Celtics limped to a 2-3 start.
Then he scored eight of his 12 points in the fourth quarter of a win at Milwaukee. Afterward, Kevin Garnett said he needed to be more of an asshole, which was basically what he told him again on the court.
"I can't tell you (what he said). Use your imagination," Green said. "Just say, it was explicit. He said it to me the other day, what I need to be. That was basically what he said."
Someone asked him if he earned the technical foul that came along with it. Green smiled, "I did."
No one on the Celtics was too concerned about that, however.
"A lot of times you think, ‘Aw, it's just a dunk,' but that motivates the whole team," Chris Wilcox said. "We gave him the technical foul, because we gassed him up. Yeah, we gassed him up. But at the end of the day, it was great, seeing him come through."