When talking about Danny Green after the 76ers’ 137-134 overtime win over the visiting Miami Heat on Tuesday, coach Doc Rivers was hyperbolic in discussing his veteran swingman’s age.
“Danny Green is 1,000 years old, and he played 49 minutes for us,” Rivers said in admiration.
The first-year Sixers coach, whose 8-4 team will host the Heat again Thursday, was slightly off on Green’s age (he is 33) but much closer in his playing-time estimate (Green played 49 minutes and 48 seconds). That came after playing 28:10 in Monday’s 112-94 loss in Atlanta, where he was heckled for shooting 0-for-9 from the field, including 0-for-7 from beyond the arc.
Green scored 29 points against the Heat, his career high with the Sixers, and finished only four points shy of his overall career best (33). He shot 9-for-21 from three-point range, the attempts and makes being career highs.
“I mean, it was good enough to get a win. I really didn’t care about the points. I just wanted to get a win,” Green said. “We lost three games in a row, and it was good to find a little rhythm early.”
That included making his first two three-point shots.
Green has been playing more because of the Sixers’ shortage of players. Seth Curry, Tobias Harris, Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle, and Vincent Poirier missed their third straight game because of health and safety protocols.
Twelve games into his Sixers career, Green is in the team record books. His nine threes tied the single-game franchise record by Dana Barros, who set the mark on Jan. 27, 1995, in a 108-107 loss to the Phoenix Suns.
While Rivers joked about Green’s age, he was downright serious about his contribution and ability to bounce back from a frustrating game.
“He just has the ultimate confidence,” Rivers said. “I mean, first of all, he took 21 three-pointers. I don’t know if I had 21 attempts in a game, let alone three-point attempts, so the fact that he kept throwing them up at the rim was good. I would say 19 of them were great shots, so you will take those shots.”
Green won’t be able to get a big head as long as teammates such as Mike Scott are there to keep him grounded.
“Danny has been in this league a long time. No matter, good game, bad game, we can always count on him. He’s a vet, played his [butt] off tonight, 10 rebounds, six assists. He had six turnovers,” Scott said, laughing when he relayed that last stat. “He was great tonight, shot the ball well, shot it a lot, but yeah, man, we can always count on Danny.”
Green’s last two games showed a pattern in this young season: one poor performance followed by a strong one.
Green has had six games in which he has shot 25% or less from three-point range, one game where he shot 33% and finished five games shooting higher than 37.5%. For the season, Green is shooting 35.8% from beyond the arc. The NBA average is 36.5%. He is averaging 9.5 points in 28.0 minutes.
It’s important for Green to stay consistent with his shooting with Rivers emphasizing spacing on offense and Joel Embiid drawing double teams, leading to plenty of open shots.
“I don’t think any of us thought about what happened the night before with how he shot or anything like that,” center Dwight Howard said. “I always believe in Danny, every time he shoots the ball.”
Notes: Tobias Harris, Shake Milton and Matisse Thybulle, who have missed the last three games due to health and safety protocols, are listed as probable on the NBA injury report for Thursday’s game. Vincent Poirier, who has also missed the last three games due to health and safety protocol is out, as is Seth Curry, who tested positive last week for COVID-19.
Joel Embiid (back tightness) and Ben Simmons (left knee swelling) are listed as probable. Terrance Ferguson, who has missed the last four games for personal reasons is listed as probable. Furkan Korkmaz (left groin strain) remains out.
The Heat will again have eight players out due to health and safety protocols, including all-stars from last yaer Bam Adebayo and former Sixer Jimmy Butler.
Gabe Vincent, who had 24 points on Tuesday, is listed as probable with left knee soreness. Meyers Leonard, who didn’t play on Tuesday, is listed a doubtful with a left shoulder strain.
Covid update: The NBA and NBA Players Association announced of the 497 players tested for COVID-19 since Jan. 6, 16 new players have received positive tests.