BEST OF 2012-13: WILLIE GREEN PLAYS
Willie Green prides himself on always being ready. But he meant much more to the Clippers last season than merely a guy who was prepared for any number of minutes or in-game situations. Green started 60 times for the Clippers, playing a bulk of the season with a meniscus injury. He was active, tough, accurate from 3-point range and was arguably one of the most unsung players in the entire league. He also had his share of athletic highlight plays.
Here are five of the best plays of the season from Green, not including any of his 71 3-pointers.
5. Apr. 16, 2013 vs. Portland: Up and Under
In the waning minutes of the Clippers’ final home game, Green is spotted along the baseline with no one around. Meyers Leonard is late to recognize it and as Green drives he finishes with a pretty reverse layup, ducking under the rim and Leonard’s outstretched arm.
4. Nov. 7, 2012 vs. San Antonio: Another Difficult Shot
In a game where he set a career high making all five of his field goals, Green’s most difficult shot came with 9:47 left in the third quarter. With the possession clogged up, Green took the ball from the left corner, made his way into the paint off the dribble, pulled up with a strong gather and fired up a fadeaway over long-armed defender Danny Green. Willie Green’s shot caromed off the rim, hit the backboard, hit the rim again and finally fell through the net much to the delight of ESPN commentator Mike Breen who chuckled, “Another difficult shot and it goes in…” Green finished with 11 points, his first double-digit scoring game as a Clipper.
3. Mar. 29, 2013 at San Antonio: Double Pump up the Jam
Even though he started 60 games, Green only averaged 16.5 minutes per game last year. He often had to make the most of his time in the first and third quarters. Against the Spurs on Mar. 29, he certainly did that, scoring five of the Clippers’ first seven points at AT&T Center. On San Antonio’s fourth possession, Green’s backcourt mate Chris Paul deflected a pass from Tony Parker and found Green leaking out towards half court. Green caught it and finished with flair on the other end. After Paul’s long outlet pass, Green dribbled once, and threw down a double-pump, two-handed dunk to even the score early.
2. Apr. 1, 2013 vs. Indiana: Spinning Right ‘Round'
One of the more underrated aspects of Green’s contributions last season was on the defensive end. He had just 29 steals on the season, but was active and athletic enough to hold his own against plenty of two-guards. Against Indiana in April, Green was trailing a step behind a cutting Lance Stephenson and as David West tries to dump it down to Stephenson, Green jumps up to tip the ball away. He snares it at the “C” in the Clippers logo at center court and with his back to the Clippers’ basket spins in the air and in one motion finds Blake Griffin streaking the other way. You can only imagine what happened next… Griffin finished with an easy dunk.
1. Jan. 15, 2013 at Houston: Watch Out Below
The best part about Green’s dunk in Houston was that Rockets broadcasters Clyde Drexler and Bill Worrell were remarking that Green was perhaps the only player on the Clippers who could not dunk. Drexler and Worrell have clearly never seen a pre-game dunk line with Green involved. He definitely holds his own and he does more than that here. On a 2-on-1 fast break Eric Bledsoe dishes to Green. Even with All-Star James Harden in the way, Green finishes with a dunk, leaping around Harden, twisting his body for the slam and finishing with a scream at the end of it.