Green and Neal giving Spurs a reason to smile

When Manu Ginobili went down with a thumb injury earlier this season, it seemed to spell trouble for the San Antonio Spurs.

Danny Green has helped the Spurs to stay near the top of the West without Manu.

However, the injury meant something else for most of the Spurs’ role-players — particularly Danny Green and Gary Neal.

Sure, the Spurs handled Manu’s absence by committee, but Neal and Green had arguably the biggest shoes to fill. (With all due respects to Tiago Splitter, Kawhi Leonard, DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner.)

Let’s start with Green.

After playing only eight games for the Spurs last season, Green has assumed Manu’s role of sorts.

The athletic wingman responded with his great defensive tenacity and fearlessness on both ends of the floor.

For the season, Green has averaged 7.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in 28 games. An admirable accomplishment considering he was not a part of the Spurs’ regular rotation last year.

Besides his defense, Green also proved that he can provide some offense when.

He scored a career-high 24 points in a win against Denver, 13 points and six boards in a come from behind victory against Portland and 20 points against Miami.

Now that Ginobili has returned, Green who started in two straight games aims to keep a grip on playing time and continue to help his team win more games.

Coach Gregg Popovich said he admired Green’s willingness to “let it fly.”

“It does show certain confidence in one’s abilities, he’s not awed by the challenge of making it in the NBA. It’s important you see someone has that in their system, that fire.” Popovich said.

How about Neal?

After a slow start this season, the Spurs’ 3-point gunner is back in the groove.

In 28 games this season, Neal has averaged 9.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 21 minutes of play. Those numbers are almost identical to what he has done last season proving that he is indeed a reliable reserve.

More importantly, Neal is on a hot streak lately.

He is averaging 10.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assist in the last five games including back-to-back 18 point games, where he shot an impressive 14-of-19 from the field, making 6-of-8 three-pointers over that span.

If San Antonio intends to be one of the West’s top contenders and later on make a deep playoff run, they will need their role players to stay confident and keep doing their jobs.

Luckily for them, Green and Neal are doing just that.


18 thoughts on “Green and Neal giving Spurs a reason to smile

  1. This article was on the spot! Great job… I’m excited about the Spurs, I mean the bench is so deep this season. Watch out NBA! Go Spurs Go!

  2. Awh, Man great Post Robby. The bench has come along like a lot of us though they would. Let me tell you something at the beggining of the season I wasn’t sure about Green or even Anderson but was sure that Pop was not going to give up on Anderson because he was a first round investment. I didn’t see much of Green last year to convinced me that he would be useful and thought he would gone by the start of the season, I just thought this Tar Heel was an overrated player. Now my opinion is much more different about him. However; yes here I go again asking myself do we need some insurance incase one of our bigs goes down late in the season? What says you again about that, you still think we need a BIG and PF just incase? Now I got that loving feeling back with Manu onboard now I just think he should be comming of the bench for now.

  3. First of all, thanks for the compliments guys… I really appreciate it.

    SpursFanHenry, yeah the bench has really come a long way and with Manu returning, the Spurs should be a more dangerous team.

    Joe, In my opinion adding another big wouldn’t hurt, however, the Spurs bigs are doing just fine with TD getting a lot rest despite the compacted schedule. Green was a pleasant surprise this season, Anderson on the other hand, will be an unrestricted free agent next season because the Spurs didn’t use the option on him.

    Having said that, I’m pretty confident with the Spurs current lineup, but I got the feeling that maybe just maybe somewhere between now and the playoffs San Antonio might bring in a familiar face back in the lineup.

    Thanks for the comments and reads everyone.

  4. Pingback: Spurs Nation » Blog brothers busy heading into Toronto game

  5. tophatal,

    I always give other teams the benefit of the doubt, but I kinda agree with you on Michael Jordan.

    The guy was one and still is one of my basketball heroes but he has never proven himself to be a good franchise owner and his decision making as far as personnel/players are concerned are questionable.

    Having said that, I still think that the Bobcats will get better in the future say 2-3 years from now.

    About Jeremy Lin, I’m excited, happy and at the same time proud for the guy. (I’m Filipino-Chinese) I believe that he will be selected in the All Star games for years to come. He is a blessing to the New York Knicks.

    • Robby

      Two or three years from now the Bobcats could very well have been contracted as an NBA franchise . In 2001 when Jordan took Kwame Brown as the #1 overall pick in the NBA Draft of that year simply look down the list of players that the then Wizards’ GM passed up on ? They say hindsight is 20/20 but even Stevie Wonder could’ve spotted this from afar and as well know the legendary Motown singer is as blind as hell .

      As for hoopla now surrounding Lin , his game has yet to be truly honed and defined . The stats prove this in terms of the turnovers thus far that now exceed 50 through 8 games . Everyone is an awe of his success but let’s be real , if he plays like that in the postseason for the Knicks with the turnovers , then their foray in the playoffs won’t last beyond the first round .

      • tophatal,

        I must agree that you guys have a crazy mix but what’s more important is the love and respect for each other.

        About Lin, yeah he has a lot to improve and his turnovers are one of his most fatal flaws.

        Don’t get me wrong the reason why I mentioned that he will be selected to the All Stars for years to come is not based on talent alone.

        We all know that fans vote for the All Stars and China is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to that. Remember when Yao Ming was voted as an All Star despite being injured for the season?

  6. Robby
    I think this Kid Lin can ball. I just like the way he handles himself with the media, humble and not afraid to talked about his upbring. I just hope he is for real because the media makes you or brakes you. Maybe the Tebow of the NBA for now. Now my question is from my previous one above you hinted a familiar face will be back by season end for a Big or PF I like to take a guess like Mcdyess, Oberto, Varegeo, Okafor or could it be David Robinson has finally decided to lace em up again and joint the fun.

    • Joe,

      Lin has really come a long way, about the familiar face I was expecting you were right! McDyess it is but I think it would be a long shot.

      Even If the Spurs keeps winning in the regular season, they will still need to add depth at frontcourt for the playoffs. I’d like to think that McDyess will be a great addition for the stretch run towards the end of the season and into the playoffs.

      Oberto could be an options too, but first, we’ll see how it goes at the Trade Deadline.

  7. Robby

    In your honest opinion apart from Stoudemire and Chandler is there anyone on that team that wants to play a lick of defense ?

    Never mind the fact that as a coach Mike DAntoni has always been averse to playing defense ! Anyone who believes to the contrary has no idea about the game whatsoever . Lin through his career in the NBA has now amassed in excess of 50 turnovers . Tell me how that’s supposed to benefit his play when he’s not being coached in terms of being more protective of the ball ? Inexperienced or not the player’s issues have been caused through poor coaching ! .

    tophatal ………

    • Honestly, I think Landry Fields is a pretty good defender and does a good job at it. I agree with you on Chandler, but Stoudemire playing D? I’m not buying into that on a consistent basis.

      But you’re right, coaches in the NBA has to improve a whole lot, there is a reason why only a handful of teams have won the NBA title and coaching is a big part of it.

      Thankfully we’ve got coach Pop! 😀

      Thanks for the comments and reads my friend.

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