It's difficult to write a Jeff Green story without mentioning Kendrick Perkins, so let's get that out of the way first. Green's 43-point performance vs. Miami Monday night was no more an anomaly than a trend. It wasn't an affirmation of the deal that sent Perkins to Oklahoma City. Danny Ainge was not sitting in his second-row courtside seat last night seeking validation and thinking, "Phew, I was right."

Ainge long ago made the decision that the Celtics needed to get younger and faster, committing to live through Green's highs and lows. The tradeoff was losing Perkins, an eminently root-able big man who wouldn't look out of place behind the wheel of a mixer at Boston Sand and Gravel. Perkins was integral in Boston's championship run in 2008, but he's shooting 46 percent from the floor this season despite possessing an arsenal of hook shots and layups that don't extend much beyond five feet. His 5.5 rebounds per game average is his lowest since the 2006-07 season. The league is trending toward smaller lineups, and Perkins is starting to get left behind.

If you're still pining for the next tough-as-nails, hard-nosed Boston basketball player, you can stop looking in Oklahoma City. The Celtics have a few of them right on the roster, starting with shooting guard Avery Bradley, who should make the All-Defensive team sooner rather than later. Teams loathe playing against him. He tried to gut it out through two separated shoulders last season. He's made himself into a very good NBA player at the age of 22.

Asked before Monday night's game if Bradley was a pest, Heat guard Dwyane Wade said, "No. He's a really good, really complete defensive basketball player." Asked if he hated the Celtics, Wade replied simply and affirmatively, "Yes."

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