Green's 3-point prowess propels Spurs

Danny Sanchez, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


SAN ANTONIO -- The NBA Finals are usually reserved for the biggest stars of the game. It's where legends make their name.
For Danny Green, it's where he's made a difference -- and set a record.
With his overall play, in particular his 3-point shooting, the 25-year-old guard has helped the veteran San Antonio Spurs move within one win of their fifth NBA championship.
By hitting six of 10 3-point attempts while scoring 24 points Sunday in the Spurs' 114-104 win over the Miami Heat, Green broke the NBA Finals record for most 3-pointers made in a series with 25.
Green is shooting 56.6 percent through the first five games of the series, including 65.8 percent (25-for-38) from behind the arc.
"Give him credit," Miami guard Dwyane Wade said. "He's knocking them down. Not many guys have shot the ball this well, especially in the Finals, that I can remember."
Green snapped the 3-pointer mark set by Ray Allen, who hit 22 3-pointers in the 2008 Finals for the Boston Celtics. Allen, now playing for the Heat, went 4-for-4 from 3-point range Sunday and scored 21 points.
Green had no idea he had broken the record until after the game.
"It's an honor to play on the same floor as some of these guys," Green said. "I didn't think I would break a record of (Allen's). It's amazing. Very surreal.
"My teammates have done a good job of finding me and getting me open. And as I said, luckily it seems everything is going right for me."
It didn't start off right. Green's road to this stage was unexpected for the fourth year pro out of North Carolina. He was drafted by the Cavaliers with the 46th pick in 2009, and he played his first season in Cleveland with LeBron James.
He then latched on with the Spurs, whom he's been with the last three years with pauses in between. He was cut twice by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and spent 16 games in NBA Development League.
This season has been different. Green has been entrenched in the Spurs' lineup. He started 79 games and averaged 10.6 points in 27 minutes. In the Finals, he has bumped his scoring average to 18 points in 34 minutes per game.
"Well, the whole season has made him more confident," Popovich said. "When you do it for 82 games, the only thing left is to see if you do it when the real lights come on come playoff time. He's pretty much well answered that question."
The Heat have few answers for Green, but they know he's now part of the Spurs' Big Three and a Half.
"That will be something we have to correct," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said of the Heat's inability to shut down Green. "He's getting some open looks, and he's making some contested looks. But the open looks are the ones that are killing us."
Green is providing equal intensity on the other end of the court. At one point in the third quarter Sunday, he hustled back after a turnover and blocked a sure James layup. It was one of three blocks he had on the night.
"Yeah, he's been unbelievable, especially on this stage," Spurs forward Tim Duncan said. "He's shooting the ball so well. We're asking him to defend Dwyane Wade and LeBron and all these guys. He's got a lot on his shoulders, and he's stepped up and answered the bell. I hope he doesn't wake up and keeps playing this way."
It's been quite a turnaround for Green, who performed so poorly in last year's Western Conference finals that he was benched in Game 5. The Spurs were ousted in Game 6.
Now Green is making the most of his moment. One more win and he'll truly be able to savor his 3-pointer record.
"We'll reflect back and let it hit us when it's over," Green said. "We still have a lot more work to do. We have to carry it out and finish it."