UNC Alumni in the NBA: Danny Green drains another game-winner

Green’s three-pointer in the closing seconds of Wednesday night’s matchup against the Miami Heat propelled Raptors to huge win on the road.

Trailing by as many as 17 points on Wednesday night against the Miami Heat (16-17), the East-leading Toronto Raptors utilized a frantic second-half run to prevent themselves from succumbing to a blowout loss on the road.

However, after regaining a slim lead in the latter minutes of the game, a Justice Winslow layup over Kawhi Leonard left the Raptors down one, 104-103, with a mere 35.2 seconds left on the game clock.

Toronto needed a bucket, and they needed one fast. Insert former Tar Heel shooting guard Danny Green.

As Leonard brought the ball up and called for a screen from Raptors center Serge Ibaka, Green saw an opportunity to take advantage of a Heat defense that was paying him no mind. He faked a cut inside, leading to a lackadaisical and poorly communicated switch between Miami’s Dwyane Wade and James Johnson.

With the two defenders eyeing Leonard at the top of the key, and not Green on the baseline, he popped back out to the corner, completely uncovered and unnoticed.

Leonard spotted the open Green, and a couple passes later, the ball would find Green and then find the bottom of the net to give the Raptors a 106-104 lead with 22.7 seconds remaining.

On the following Miami possession, a flurry of rushed shots — one of which were contested by Green — would all fall short, securing a huge road win for Toronto. Green would finish the night with 18 points (7-10 FG, 4-7 3PT), six rebounds and two assists.

These weren’t the only late-game heroics of the season for Green, however.

In November, the Raptors saw themselves in a similar predicament on the road against the Orlando Magic. Tied at 91 apiece with 2.3 seconds remaining, a Danny Green jumpshot would send the Raptors home victorious.

These two instances of clutch shooting are indicative of a bounce-back season for the 10-year veteran out of North Carolina, who’s enjoying his best shooting season — including points per game (9.7), field goal percentage (43.5 percent) and three-point percentage (40.9 percent) — since 2014.

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