Wizards 107 – Pacers 89: Jeff Green, The Professional | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Wizards 107 – Pacers 89: Jeff Green, The Professional

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Updated: February 1, 2019

AP Photo/Nick Wass

When a star player misses a game-winning shot, or a cornerback gets beat for a touchdown, or when a baseball reliever gives up a game-winning home run, conventional wisdom says that a short-term memory is the best medicine.

While moping or dwelling on the mistake is the knee-jerk and obvious reaction, these players expected to shed that line of thought, get back on their respective fields/courts of play and be professionals.

On Tuesday night, despite a furious comeback by the Wizards bench over the last five minutes of the game, Washington endured a forgettable loss, 116-113, to the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers. It was an L that saw Coach Scott Brooks openly question the effort of the starters. The Wizards could have carried those negative vibes into the matchup against the Pacers, or they could take advantage of the comfort of their home arena, be professionals and get the win.

Enter Jeff Green.

Prior, Coach Brooks sat down Green and informed him that he would be returning to the bench, and that Otto Porter would be starting. Brooks said that Green understood and even wondered why the coach had pulled him aside to tell about the decision.

When Green was asked about it, he echoed those sentiments: “He (Brooks) don’t need to explain, he’s the coach, I’m the player. Whatever he says, I do, and I’m fine with it. Otto’s a hell of a player and he’s one of our go-to guys on this team, so if he’s starting and coach says he’s starting, he’s starting.”

Porter didn’t play badly during the six minutes he played in the first quarter, but he did pick up two quick fouls, which forced Coach Brooks to insert Green for Porter. The Wizards trailed 18-14 at the time.

Green came in hot, and hit two of his three shots from the field and both of his free throws for a total of seven points. His sharp shooting, combined with the offensive exploits of Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza, put the Wizards up by 10 points by the end of the quarter. Green was had a team high plus/minus of plus-14 at the end of the first quarter. Not bad for a player who had been “demoted.” But he was not done there.

The Wizards bench extended their lead from 10 to 14 points in the second quarter by scoring 22 of the team’s 24 points in the period. Sam Dekker had six points via layups or dunks, Chasson Randle had five points, but the anchor of this unit was Green, who had nine points, three assists two rebounds and played every minute of the second quarter. When Porter was re-inserted in the game with 5:14 left in the quarter, he came in for Ian Mahinmi, not the glowing Green.

Porter played four minutes of the third quarter before coming up a bit lame with a sore toe (Coach Brooks said after the game that was Porter jammed his toe and he was hopeful that he could return to starting lineup with a couple days of treatment). Brooks once again inserted Green into the lineup with the starters, and although he wasn’t as productive in the scoring department (he scored 5 points in 8 minutes), he helped with the Wizards hold on to a 13-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Beal and Randle helped the Wizards go on an 8-0 run to begin the fourth quarter, to put the Wizards up 21 points.    They never trailed by less than 18 points the remainder of the game. Green played just 3:38 and scored just two points, but by that point, the heavy lifting had already been done.

The Wizards won 107-89. Green finished with 23 points, six assists, five rebounds, two blocked shots, and no fouls in 29 minutes of play. More importantly, if Porter had to miss any time with his toe injuries, Brooks will have zero problems with re-inserting Green back into the lineup and expecting productivity. After all, Green had done nothing but exude professionalism on and off the court.

After the game, Green was asked how he approached the game differently last night, since he was coming off the bench, instead of starting. Without missing a beat, Green calmly responded the way a veteran, professional is supposed to respond: “At the end of the day it’s just basketball and I just go out there, play hard and live with the results.”

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Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop, USAToday.com, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.