‘Oh Danny Boy’ (‘The Asphalt,’ NBA Finals — Game 3 Notes)

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The song, ‘Danny Boy,’ it has been written by a few, is an Irish folk song that is an ode to the Irish soldier heading off to war. Last night, Toronto’s ‘Danny Boy,’ Danny Green, their sharpshooting three point shooter, stepped into the basketball battlefield and finally delivered a long awaited playoff moment.

Green set the tone from the beginning in Game 3 with three point shots that pushed the Raptors out front early in their 123–109 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Oracle Arena in Oakland giving his team a 2–1 lead in the NBA Finals. Green finished with 18 points, 5 rebounds, and a key late block of a Quinn Cooke breakaway lay-up.

But truth be told though, Danny Green is a major reason Toronto is even in the Finals. He is the quintessential NBA specialist. He defends and shoots the three with high accuracy and defends on the ball one on one. He has been doing this for about a decade mostly with the San Antonio Spurs during their long run at the top of the NBA.

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Green, since he came to Toronto in the Kawhi Leonard-DeMar DeRozan trade, has been stellar. He averaged 10 points per game during the regular season with an effective FG percentage of 62 percent (45 percent from three). Yet, in these playoffs, he has struggled terribly.

Green is only shooting 35 percent overall and averaging just 7.6 points per game in these playoffs. In the final two games against Milwaukee in the conference finals his minutes were cut and he didn’t score a point in either game. Yet, last night, Danny Boy was back to being the specialist he has been throughout his career and the great defender who learned his trade as a North Carolina Tar Heel.

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When Green played for San Antonio and was a key part of their 2014 Championship team, he shot 48 percent from the three point line and had an effective FG percentage of 64 percent. He stretched the floor for the Spurs and gave them hard nose defense. He also maintained his 9 points per game average as he did during the season. It was a grand moment for Green also because the Spurs had cut him twice as he rose up through the NBA to become the prototype two way specialist in today’s NBA. Coach Greg Popovich admitted when Green got traded that it was tough to trade Danny Green.

Last night, Green did for the Raptors what he used to do for the Spurs. If the Raptors are able to do the unthinkable and hold off the Warriors, it will be another big moment for a player who shows up and gives his effort every time he is on the floor.

Numbers runner. Cigar smoker.

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