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Sport One Play: Josh Green's off-ball movement unlocking his offence for Mavericks

19:55  12 january  2022
19:55  12 january  2022 Source:   sportingnews.com

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Welcome to "One Play!" Throughout the 2021-22 NBA season, our NBA.com Staff will break down certain possessions from certain games and peel back the curtains to reveal its bigger meaning.

Today, Dallas Mavericks wing Josh Green takes the spotlight.

After a slow start to his NBA career, Aussie Josh Green is enjoying a breakout patch for the Mavericks, making the most of his increased court time with some productive performances.

Following a four-game stint on the sidelines due to health and safety protocols, Green returned with a career-high 10-assist game in Portland and hasn't looked back, averaging 20.9 minutes per night across his last eight games. For reference, he only played 20-plus minutes six times last season.

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During that eight-game stretch, the Mavs have gone 7-1 with Green throwing in some eye-catching performances, most notably in wins over the Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls.

In his past two games, he produced the two best scoring performances of his career against the Rockets (17 points) and Bulls (18 points) — a combined 35 points on 14-of-17 shooting from the field.

But how is he getting it done?

Let's head to the film room to find out.

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The play:

Breakdown: After Marquese Chriss hauls in the rebound off Eric Gordon's missed 3-point attempt, he gets the ball to Green who takes off down the floor, looking to attack the Rockets defence before they can get set.

The other Mavericks on the floor are Tim Hardaway Jr., Sterling Brown and Frank Ntilikina, who are all spreading the floor behind the arc.

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Josh Green (Dallas Mavericks) © Provided by Sporting News Josh Green (Dallas Mavericks)

With Chriss trailing behind on the 3-point line, Rockets big man Christian Wood is out on the perimeter, leaving acres of space in the key.

Green gets the ball to Tim Hardaway Jr. and quickly recognises the advantage, cutting hard to the basket, leaving his man Josh Christopher in his wake as he flies by him, receiving the bounce pass from Hardaway Jr.

His lightning-quick speed and recognition turns a half-court set into an uncontested layup.

Josh Green (Dallas Mavericks) © Provided by Sporting News Josh Green (Dallas Mavericks)

Why it matters: Green is playing to his strengths.

Entering the draft, the 21-year-old was pegged as a high-motor, 3-and-D slashing wing whose best offensive weapon was getting out in the open floor. While he's improved his shooting from deep this season (33.3 percent, up from 22.5 percent in 2020-21), Green's shot creation is still a work in progress. However, he's found success on the offensive end without the ball in his hands by cutting to the basket, crashing the offensive glass and finishing in transition.

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He's keeping it simple.

The Aussie's size and strength allows him to finish through contact and he's been great as a finisher at the rim this season. Of his 44 made field goals, 30 have been within five feet of the basket, where he's converting 81.1 percent of those shots.

Of his 44 made field goals this season, 34 have been assisted, with his teammates rewarding his off-ball movement, especially Luka Doncic, who has served up some highlight-reel alley-oop passes.

“I think it is the whole idea that when you get inside of the paint, good things happen,” Green said.

“Whether you are able to dish it out or get a layup. For me, anytime I can get one or two steps into the paint, it leads to something good.”

In their victory over the Bulls, which snapped Chicago's nine-game win streak, Green had the American Airlines Center rocking in the fourth quarter with two high-flying finishes.

As soon as DeMar DeRozan turned the ball over in the paint, Green was gone, taking off down the floor as Doncic handsomely rewarded his effort with the lob.

Shortly thereafter, he was at it again. When Zach LaVine's 3-point attempt rattled out, Green went from battling with Nikola Vucevic for the rebound to beating every single player down the floor to finish the alley-oop dime from Jalen Brunson.

Those types of momentum-shifting plays that energise the crowd are becoming his specialty and if he continues to be able to score without the ball while playing high-level defence, there will be plenty of minutes for him on the floor moving forward this season.

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