Hello Spurs; Is It Danny Green You're looking For?

Has anyone seen these two in the same room?
During Game two of this NBA finals series a friend made the throw away remark about San Antonio Spurs sharp shooter Danny Green’s resemblance to the 80s crooner Lionel Richie.

Sure, I conceded, both men have ill conceived facial hair and a seemingly unflappable disposition. But for me that’s where the physical similarities end (though I have no way of knowing the breadth of Green’s singing talent).

However if you are talking metaphorical similarities, well I got a list of them longer than Lionel Richie’s hair care bill.

For starters Richie had plenty of hits, Dancing on the Ceiling, Hello and Three Times a Lady to name but a few.

But during the game three blow out win over the Heat Richie’s dubious basketballing doppelganger Danny Green rewrote a version of an even bigger hit in All Night Long.

The only music he used was the sound from snapping nets as Green rained down three after three after three all night long against a bewildered Miami audience.

While many of Richie’s pop hits are, in this writers humble opinion, at best insipid and at worst nauseatingly saccharine, Green’s stop and pop three point daggers have for Spurs fans been equivalent to anthemic renditions of inspiring war cries.

Danny Green has arrived in this series, shooting a blistering 70% from 3-point range on the way to averaging 18 points during this finals series, up from 10.5 during the regular season.

Belying the Spurs big three, Green may well prove the vital spark the Spurs need to catch fire in their search for a fifth NBA title.

For the past few games Green, along with Gary Neal, has picked up the scoring slack that a literally hamstrung Tony Parker and a quiet Tim Duncan let sag for the second game in a row.

Neal and Green scored 51 of the Spurs 113 points total on a combined 13-19.

It was Neal and Green, not Parker and Duncan, who were the Spurs in the Heats side early on, catching and shooting with a deadly accuracy not seen since Pat Garrett patrolled the Texan prairies.

While Neal caught fire early Green waited until the second half to meter out his 3-point blitzkrieg, eventually finishing with a game high 27 points on 7-9 from beyond the arc.

But for all the razzle-dazzle while shooting the lights out, arguably Green’s greatest contributions have come on the defensive end.

His ability to stay with a gliding Wade or bullocking LeBron has much to do with the Heats naval gazing on their stuttering running game and public discussions on how best to combat a stifling and frugal defence.

While no one should doubt the likelihood of a LeBron led resurgence in game four his and the Heat’s performance thus far has alarmingly resembled the most ineffectual aspects of the series loss to the Mavericks in 2011.

Any time James is found settling for 18 foot wing jumpers is concerning for a team that relies on its star dominator doing exactly that from 10 feet and closer.

James is at his most devastating when attacking the paint, but apart for a desperately brief period during the third quarter of game three this mode of attack was non existent.

Ominously, LeBron has vowed to be better in game four.

The scary part for San Antonio is they know he can’t be much worse, a point that seems unfair to make about a player whose game included 15 points, 11 rebounds five assists and two steals, respectable statistics for any mere NBA mortal.

But Superman has proved on many occasions to be more than that, and right now the Heat need a super hero to once again inspire a performance that will come off the back of a curiously lacklustre post season effort.

Meanwhile, the Greg Popovich legend continues to grow.

Gary Neal and Danny Green, along with Kawhi Leonard, have become the latest personifications of the clich├ęd Spurs ‘system’ that is so ardently spruiked by coach ‘Pop’.

Popovich has carved out a sizeable reputation by taking unwanted, lowly or undrafted role players and turning them into essential, bona fide contributors.

It is a system that often sees San Antonio anointed the standard bearer to NBA small market success. Players are required to ‘buy’ into a culture of all for one and one for all, and are recruited on their willingness to do so.

Fittingly the leaders of this misfit band of bit part players have been the Spurs own version of the three musketeers.

For 12 years Messrs’ Ginobili, Parker and Duncan have guided less illustrious teammates through the rigours of an NBA season, and have three championships as reward.

They are now two games away from a fourth.

If Greg Popovich ever thought to give up coaching basketball he may well think of taking up marriage counselling, such is his success in marrying players like Danny Green and his fellow unheralded heroes to the Spurs system.

San Antonio is once again reaping the rewards of a relationship born on trust and perseverance., and come this time next week they may once again be Dancing in the Street.

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