Why Danny Green Can Keep Up This Torrid Shooting Pace
One of the more compelling stories in the 2013 NBA Finals is Danny Green having the series of his life.
Green, who came in as a role player, is currently the leading scorer in the series and recently broke the Finals' record for three-point field goals made with 25 (per Basketball Reference), which surpassed Ray Allen's 22 in 2008.
After five straight games of spectacular shooting displays, Green has yet to show any signs of slowing down. He finished Game 5 with 24 points, going 6-for-10 from beyond the arc and registering yet another amazing shooting performance.
The Miami Heat should've learned by now and found a way to stop Green, but there are several factors that are preventing that from happening.
Defense Collapsing in the Paint
Tim Duncan is the most skilled big man in this series, and the Heat don't have enough size on the interior to cover him effectively 1 on 1.
Every time Duncan received the ball deep in the low-post, he almost always commands a double team from the Heat defense. This means players like LeBron James, Mike Miller, Shane Battier, Dwyane Wade and even Ray Allen must run to the paint and help their teammates defend Duncan.
With Duncan's intuition and high basketball IQ, he knows when and where to throw the perfect pass outside of the double team. In most scenarios, he would pitch it to Tiago Splitter in the paint, a cutting Kawhi Leonard or Green on the perimeter.
Green has been the beneficiary of the Heat defense collapsing on Duncan, and he will continue to hit those kind of shots when he's wide open or semi-wide open.
At this stage of his career, Duncan isn't the dominant scoring threat as he once was, but the Heat would much rather give up a three-pointer than a high percentage look for Duncan.
Tony Parker's Dribble Penetration
Tony Parker is the engine that keeps the San Antonio Spurs' offense running, which makes him the most important player the Heat defense has to watch out for.
In this series, Parker has been rather mediocre. He's averaging 16.2 PPG and 6.6 APG on 49.3 percent shooting from the field, but those are all down from his regular season averages.
I'm not going as far as saying that Parker has been slowed down by any means, but he has only recorded two great games in this series so far.
However, since the Heat defense is so focused on stopping Parker from creating plays and Duncan from dominating the paint, Green will continue to roam the perimeter freely.
The Heat cannot afford to let Parker, who finished at the rim 68.8 percent of the time during the regular season (per Hoop Data), break down the defense and get into the paint. They would much rather have Green shoot a three-pointer than Parker get into the lane, but it hasn't been working too well for them.
He Had Stretches Like This During the Season
Green has come a long way in this league. He had to work for everything he has right now, but his improved shooting stroke and perimeter defense has helped him find a niche on this competitive Spurs roster.
This isn't the first time that Green has experienced a stretch where every three-point shot he takes seems to fall into the basket.
Early in the season, Green had a four-game stretch from November 1st to November 7th that saw him average 14.0 PPG and 64.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Then, from January 30th to February 11th, Green averaged 16.1 PPG on 62.5 percent from beyond the arc.
Now, his hot shooting streak has moved into the finals against the defending champions, and there isn't anything that the Heat can do about it.