For the majority of his pro basketball career, Gerald Green has been known as a sideshow, a guy who shows up to dunk contests, puts on a show, and contributes to his team's success sparingly. That's changed recently, and not just because he retired from the dunk contest before the start of the season. In his first year with the surprisingly formidable Phoenix Suns, Green has proven himself to be a valuable contributor on the wing, improving his three-point shooting to 38.6 percent and turning his considerable athleticism into a more tangibly effective tool.
On Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center, Green put forth his finest moment of the 2013-14 season so far. Down 103-102 with mere seconds on the clock, Green took the ball from Markieff Morris in the right corner off an apparent broken play. He immediately rose up and swished a tough jumper, giving the Suns a one-point lead. Kevin Martin's last-ditch attempt hit rim, and the Suns left Minneapolis with a 104-103 win.
Green's jumper capped a 9-1 run over the final 2:44, during which the Timberwolves missed three field goals and committed two turnovers. This loss also ran Minnesota's record to a baffling 0-10 in games decided by four points or fewer, which is both a product of a small sample size and a sign that their late-game execution needs some work. As Derek James noted for Hardwood Paroxysm on Wednesday, this team just isn't very good late in close games.
Meanwhile, the Suns helped avoid their third loss in four games since losing starting guard Eric Bledsoe to a sprained knee. It's only fitting that Green, his replacement in the starting lineup, was the hero vs. the Wolves.
(Video via GIFD Sports)
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