Green finished with a career-high 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range, in the 109-102 victory. He had six points in the fourth quarter as the Bucks held on to put the Magic away late.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way with 34 points and 13 rebounds. Bobby Portis had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Jrue Holiday added 17 points and 10 assists. Green, along with fellow two-way player Sandro Mamukelashvili, accounted for 20 of the Bucks’ 29 points off the bench.
“That is a really good night in really important minutes,” Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said. “I think it speaks to our front office (with) the way they find players whether it be in the second round or undrafted like AJ. We try and put them in and give them opportunities and both of those guys tonight were huge for us.”
The performance by Green was just his eighth appearance of the season and only the third time logging at least 10 minutes. He topped his season total of 11 points on Monday and did so with the Bucks down Brook Lopez, Grayson Allen and MarJon Beauchamp.
He wanted to capitalize on the newfound opportunity.
I think the more reps and experience you get, the more comfortable you get out there and kinda figure out what works and what doesn’t. The trust of Coach Bud to play me means a lot and I’m going to try to make the most of that opportunity.
The former Northern Iowa guard has made five appearances in the NBA G League with the Wisconsin Herd with playing time at a premium in Milwaukee. He is averaging 21.2 points, six rebounds and 3.2 assists on 46.3% shooting from 3-point range on 10.8 attempts.
The opportunity to play with the Herd has helped keep him fresh and in a groove on the court. He is playing on average 30.3 minutes per game, which helped prepare him for his chance on Monday.
Those (minutes) have been huge to go down there and play 30-plus minutes and really keep that feel and keep that confidence being able to play free and play your game. To go back and forth is huge. If you’re up here, you might go a stretch with not playing or you can go down to the G and play and stay in shape and keep that rhythm.
Of course, Green is still learning and transitioning to the improved pace and physicality of the game in the NBA. He also saw extended minutes on Saturday in a win over the Hornets, recording eight points, three rebounds and one assist.
With several veterans on the roster, Green has a strong supporting cast around him. On one sequence on Monday, Green checked out and was immediately greeted by Wesley Matthews. The 13-year vet talked him through a few plays and gave him some words of wisdom.
“That is a difference-maker,” Green said. “They have so many years of experience and know all of the ins and outs and the little things to help you and get you along quicker. I really appreciate the love that they show and the knowledge.”
Green will continue to split his time between the NBA and G League as the 23-year-old develops his game and grows on the court. Certainly, the effort on Monday will go a long way in building his confidence.
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