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Spurs notes • Versatile Danny Green plays his way into starting role

Published May 6, 2012 12:02 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A year ago, Danny Green's basketball future was in doubt.

San Antonio's starting shooting guard was in the NBA's Development League. Because of an injury to Manu Ginobli, he found a roster spot and stuck with the Spurs for the remainder of a season that ended in disappointment, via a first-round postseason exit.

Despite that success, there was no guarantee that Green was going to make the roster this year. Not only has he done that, not only has he emerged as a starter, he's emerged as a big-shot maker, a glue guy and a defensive specialist — kind of like Bruce Bowen did 10 years earlier.

"We really didn't know whether he was going to be on the team this year," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "But he's been terrific. He's really given us some depth and some options."

On Saturday night, in the Spurs' 102-90 Game 3 win over the Jazz, Green was again effective when his team needed him. He scored 14 points while grabbing six rebounds and limiting Gordon Hayward to a subpar night.

The former North Carolina star was at his best in the third quarter, scoring nine in the period and spacing the floor when the Jazz dared collapse on Tony Parker in the middle of the lane.

"Tony does such a great job at creating space for all of us and getting shots for all of us," Green said. "It's good to be able to come through and hit shots when it counts. You have to take advantage of opportunities when they come."

Back and making a difference

Before Saturday night, Tiago Splitter played a grand total of seven minutes in the series due to a wrist injury.

Given 18 minutes in Game 3, Splitter was San Antonio's best big man off the bench, scoring 10 points, grabbing eight rebounds and outplaying Al Jefferson in the fourth quarter.

Better for Harris, but still not enough

Even with Devin Harris playing his best game of the series with 21 points and five assists, Parker scored 27 points and got the better of the matchup down the stretch. It was closer than the first two games, but still a matchup that went San Antonio's way.