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Celtics Notebook

Evan Turner’s turnaround has been impressive

Evan Turner (11) was in the middle of the action for the Celtics Monday night. He had his second triple-double in a span of 15 games.Mary Altaffer/AP

It has been an impressive bounce-back March for Evan Turner, who responded from a putrid stretch with some of his best basketball during the Celtics’ recent playoff push.

That was punctuated by his triple-double in Monday’s win over the Brooklyn Nets, his second in a span of 15 games after none the first 361 games of his NBA career. It was apparent in the early going Monday that Turner was offensively aggressive.

There are some nights in which Turner’s line-drive jumper hits nothing but net, and there are others when that jumper has been erratic. In February, Turner shot 30.4 percent from the field and missed 17 of 20 3-point attempts. In March, those numbers have risen to 45.4 percent and 7 for 23 from long range, which never has been his strength.


What does make Turner a weapon is his versatility and ability to distribute the ball. He is averaging a career-best 5.1 assists this season, and since the training camp injury to Rajon Rondo turned Turner into the team’s primary point guard, he has worked on trying to facilitate.

“With the assists, you have to have teammates make the shots,” he said. “That’s definitely been happening. I grew up playing with the ball in my hands and it’s been more advantageous for me. That’s what I got drafted so high off of, playing the point guard position. It definitely helped. My teammates made great plays and it makes me look better than I actually did.”

Since Turner is more of a scorer than a shooter, he has picked and chosen his moments to initiate his own offense. In the past three games, he is 26 for 45 shooting and averaging 19.6 points. There have been games such as at Indiana (1 for 7, 4 points) and Memphis (1 for 6, 4 points) that Turner has been passive. But in between those two Celtics victories, Turner went for a season-high 30 points in a victory over Orlando.


“He knows how to play and every night he fills the box score,’’ Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Monday night. “He was really good with the ball, good making decisions off pick-and-roll. You could tell he was aggressive from the start. He’s a good player. We need everybody to play well, and he played well.

“He’s good on the ball. He’s probably more comfortable in our system. He played for four different head coaches in four years. I would say that’s probably the case when you get more comfortable and realize where your spots are.”

Stevens said he does not ask Turner to pick and choose his moments to score. He wants more consistent aggression.

“I think the biggest thing we can do is encourage him to be aggressive all the time,” Stevens said. “He very conscientious about making the right play, which sometimes can be a fault because he wants to be a great teammate. He wants to make the right read and the right pass and sometimes he hesitates as a result and doesn’t look for his shot. We want him to be aggressive coming off that pick-and-roll to score.”

Learning, yearning

Jae Crowder came to the Celtics as a throw-in in the Rondo deal but he has worked his way into being a steady rotation player and part-time starter. He has averaged 11.9 points since the All-Star break, emerging as an offensive weapon and developing into a player the Celtics could covet for coming years.


In Dallas, he was a member of teams that expected to make the playoffs, but the Celtics have suddenly emerged as a playoff-caliber team over the past few weeks.

“It’s fun to grow with guys and build relationships with guys and coaches, it’s a fun experience,” said Crowder, 24. “I really accept everything that’s been handed to me with playing time. I just want to get the best out of it and try to make the fans happy and try to make my teammates happy and grow with them.”

Young to Maine

The Celtics sent rookie James Young back to NBADL Maine for another stint after a week with the big club. Maine, which has six games left in its regular season and is headed for the playoffs, will travel to Erie on Wednesday, then hosts Westchester on Friday.

With Isaiah Thomas expected back for Wednesday’s game and Gigi Datome soaking up most of Young’s minutes, the Celtics want to get their swingman some experience. In 11 games with the Red Claws, Young is averaging 22.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2 assists.

Young hasn’t played more than 10 minutes in any game since March 6 and his minutes were reduced when Stevens went with veteran Datome after the trade deadline.

Not again

Marcus Smart said one of the primary reasons he came back to school for his sophomore season at Oklahoma State was because the Cowboys were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament by Oregon in his freshman season. The Ducks eliminated the Cowboys again on Friday, and Smart said he spoke to some of his former teammates.


“Yeah, I am [upset],” he said. “But you know those guys played hard and that’s all you can ask for. They were very upset but they can hold their heads up high.”

It was a mini Oklahoma State reunion for Smart on Monday when he guarded former teammate Markel Brown, who started for the Nets.

Gary Washburn can be reached at gwashburn@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GwashburnGlobe.