8.08.2016

The Gerald Green Experience is more whirlwind than comforting breeze

October 9, 2015

Two games into the preseason, the Miami Heat have now experienced the storm, which is why it would be unwise to discount the team's bench in any game.

Through three periods of Wednesday's 100-97 exhibition loss to the Orlando Magic in Louisville, Green was scoreless, had attempted just one shot, with the Heat down 74-66.

And then percolation, and certainly not decaf.

A Green 17-foot jumper with 10:01 to play. A Green 3-pointer with 9:19 left. Another Green 3-pointer with 8:51 to go. Eight points in 70 seconds. And then a Green 3-point play with 7:09 left. Heat within three, on the way to tying it.

Eleven points, his only scoring of the game, in fewer than three minutes. Less than two minutes later he checked out for the night, because a team carrying the NBA preseason limit of 20 players can ride a hot hand for only so long.

For Green, it was a matter of getting in sync with the game. And, oddly, it meant slowing down, as he continues to strive for NBA revalidation after signing for the league minimum this offseason.

"My teammates did a great job of calming me down," he said. "Once I get an opportunity, I just try to make something happen."

It happened Wednesday, the type of eruption the Heat lacked last season in all those games when scoring droughts led to the lottery.

"Offense comes easy for me," the 29-year-old swingman said. "I know if I go down and lock my defense down, nine times out of 10 we're going to win."

For Green, that ultimately could be the key to consistent playing time. While the Heat have featured a complete five-man second unit in the first two exhibitions, such an approach is less likely during the regular season, when the minutes will go up for Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng and Goran Dragic. To retain his minutes, it likely will require Green to be more of a two-way player than he has shown in recent years.

So for all he accomplished during his three minutes of Wednesday scoring fury, there also was disappointment for allowing Magic wing Evan Fournier to break clear for a 3-pointer of his own during that stretch.

That's what will be on Green's mind when the Heat return Friday to the practice court at AmericanAirlines Arena in preparation for Monday's resumption of the preseason schedule against the visiting San Antonio Spurs."I know my role is to have energy on both ends of the floor," Green said. "I'm really focusing on defense, that's what I'm really trying to focus on. Scoring is easy for me. I'm not really worried about scoring.

"It's the defense that I'm trying to work my best at. I know that's the only way we can become a better team, if I'm a better defender."

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