ISTANBUL -- Jeff Green played in his first NBA game in more than a year, scoring 16 points in 27 minutes as the Boston Celtics lost the first game of the preseason Friday, 97-91 to Turkish team Fenerbahce Ulker.
Green missed all of last season after having surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm. He re-signed with the Celtics this offseason.
"Yeah, (Green) was very comfortable. He played with great speed," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said after the game. "You could see he played well at the 3 and the 4, which was great. The last time we had him he struggled when we switched him back and forth. Obviously we're starting to figure out his game as well, so that helped."
Green had five points and a rebound through the first three quarters, seeing just more than 14 minutes of action. But he played all 12 minutes of the final frame, emerging as a go-to veteran in a lineup filled with rookies. Green put in 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the final quarter, routinely attacking the basket and putting in difficult layups in traffic. He took charge of a unit that featured the likes of Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo, Dionte Christmas, Jamar Smith, and even Kris Joseph, emerging as the primary scorer.
Green scored Boston's final basket with 1:19 to play, cutting Fenerbahce's lead to 94-91. But Romain Sato buried a 3-pointer from the right corner shortly after to seal the Celtics' fate.
Rivers dismissed the notion of Green needing to be more assertive for this year's team. Green's been labeled as a player who simply needs to do more for Boston in every conceivable category, but Rivers stressed that it's a sense of comfort, and not an assertiveness, that will bring out Green's best.
"I think we're making too big of a deal about this whole being assertive and all this stuff with Jeff. I really do," Rivers said. "I just think that he needs to get comfortable. When he came to us the first time, he never had a chance to get comfortable, and now he is. He plays the way he plays. He's a smooth player, and I thought tonight he was really comfortable, and you could see that, and I think that's from going through training camp. Jeff's going to be what you saw tonight. That's pretty good."
First-round draft pick Jared Sullinger matched Green with a team-high 16 points, but the Celtics paid the price for a weak second quarter, getting outscored 29-18.
The Celtics committed 25 turnovers. According to ESPN Stats & Information, they became just the 12th team ever to lose to a European team and the first since the Cleveland Cavaliers fell to CSKA Moscow in 2010.
The Celtics' next exhibition game is Sunday in Milan, against Emporio Armani.
The team returns to Boston on Monday and resumes practice Thursday before playing its first U.S. preseason game against the Knicks in Hartford, Conn., two days later.
Information from ESPNBoston.com contributor Greg Payne and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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