Spurs’ Tony Parker on Heat’s defense: ‘I can’t believe Danny Green is still open’
SAN ANTONIO — Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. So what happens if Danny Green fools you an NBA Finals-record 25 times in just five games? Shame on Miami’s defense, of course.
Green hit six three-pointers in San Antonio’s 114-104 victory over Miami on Sunday, helping to deliver a 3-2 series lead as the teams head back to South Florida for Game 6 on Tuesday. His remarkable three-point run now includes 25 makes through the first five games, already an NBA record. He’s an unconscious 25-for-38 (65.8 percent) from deep in the Finals, yet somehow still manages to find sufficient daylight to launch.
“I can’t believe he’s still open at this moment in the series,” Spurs point guard Tony Parker said after Game 5. “They are still trapping me and doubling [Tim Duncan], and Danny is wide open. He’s shooting the ball well. If you are going to leave Danny wide open, he’s going to make threes.”
Boom. That’s about as thorough a roasting as an opponent will get from the notoriously tight-lipped Spurs.
Confronted with Parker’s words, Dwyane Wade responded by giving credit rather than taking issue with the assessment of the Heat’s defense.
“He’s making some hell of a shots,” Wade said. “He’s also getting some stuff in transition. They’re running a lot. And he’s the beneficiary of Tony Parker’s penetration. He’s getting some shots but he’s making them. Give them credit, man. He’s knocking them down. Not many guys have shot the ball this well, especially in the Finals.”
Green, who finished with 24 points, opted against twisting the knife.
“I’ve been getting lucky,” he said. “I was moving around a lot. Our transition helps us, our pace. Tony penetrating and Manu [Ginobili] penetrating, making the defense collapse is the reason why I’ve been getting open. Luckily a couple have dropped for me.”
With his fourth three-pointer of the night, Green passed Heat guard Ray Allen for the NBA Finals record for most made three-pointers in a series. Allen hit 22 in six games as a member of the 2008 title-winning Celtics against the Lakers.
“I’m lucky enough, blessed enough to have the opportunity to be on the stage,” Green said of the record. “My teammates have done a great job of finding me and getting me open, and as I said, luckily it seems everything is going right for me. I’m feeling truly blessed right now. There’s got to be a Higher Power. I owe it all to God. The basketball gods are in our favor right now.”
Is there a way to stop Green — who is making a strong case for Finals MVP should the Spurs take the series — other than to hope that he finally starts missing?
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said slowing down the onslaught begins with taking away Green’s easiest opportunities.
“He’s getting some open looks and he’s making some contested shots,” Spoelstra said. “The open looks are the ones that are killing us.”
A second-round pick in 2009, Green was released by both the Cavaliers and Spurs before he finally stuck for good last season, earning himself a three-year, $11.3 million contract last summer. Green, 25, averaged a career-high 10.1 points this season and shot 42.9 percent from three-point range.
“The whole season has made him more confident,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “He’s been somebody that has gotten a lot of minutes, basically has a green light. 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 playoffs time. He’s pretty well answered that question.”