The basketball gods giveth, the basketball gods taketh away. It’s a reality as old as the game itself and Philadelphia 76ers wing Danny Green is experiencing it firsthand.
In the fledgling days of the Sixers’ playoff run, Green was a walking bucket. Even as Joel Embiid played at an MVP level, the 11-year NBA veteran and three-time NBA champion was arguably the hottest hand on the team.
Fast-forward to now and the usually sure-handed Green can’t buy a bucket. His Sixers may have a chance to go up 2-1 in their second-round matchup with the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, but if Green continues to struggle, winning the series could be difficult.
That said, Sixers coach Doc Rivers doesn’t seem overly concerned about his starting small forward.
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Rivers Still Backing His Veteran Wing
During his latest media availability, Rivers was asked to comment on Green’s shooting woes. In the series against the Hawks, the 33-year-old has connected on just four of his 13 shot attempts overall and 1-of-9 from three-point range.
That output is a far cry from the 52.1% from distance he shot over the first four games of Philly’s first-round series.
According to Rivers, though, Green is largely still playing within the Sixers’ offense.
“We don’t worry about it, for the most part,” River said, via Sports Illustrated’s Kevin McCormick. “Of those nine, I’m going to say six of them were probably good shots.”
Rivers further relayed that Green has some freedom to fire away and opined that the slump he is in can’t last forever.
“I still give him that freedom because at the end of the day, that’s what he does. I don’t worry about shooters missing shots. Odds are they’re going to start making them at some point,” said Rivers.
Green currently has playoff averages of 8.0 points, 3.0 assists and 2.9 rebounds, while also contributing 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks per contest. He has made 43.8% of his field-goal attempts overall and 37.8% of his three-point tries.
Will the Hawks Ever Stop Embiid?
Although Sixers fans likely have a level of concern about Green’s cold shooting, the Hawks may have the biggest cause for concern in the series in Embiid. In spite of the efforts of Clint Capela, one of the NBA’s best defensive big men, the MVP runner-up has amassed 79 points on just 46 field-goal attempts in the series.
Things got particularly bad in Game 2 when Embiid had Capela in major foul trouble. Consequently, the Sixers star finished the contest with 40 points on 13-of-25 shooting. He also knocked down two triples.
In Embiid’s 73 minutes on the floor in the series, the Sixers have outscored the Hawks by 18 points per 100 possessions while posting an offensive rating of 130.1.
Ultimately, Embiid’s injured knee acting up may be Atlanta’s only hope of not being ravaged by the four-time All-Star.
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