The Dallas Mavericks clinched a postseason berth by defeating the Miami Heat 127-113 on Tuesday night. It was a strong team performance. Luka Doncic’s near triple-double in 30 minutes jumps off the box score. Tim Hardaway Jr. tied a franchise record by making ten 3-pointers, but it was another player that earned most of the praise after the crucial win.
Rookie Josh Green entered the game at the start of the second quarter with the Mavs trailing by nine. The Heat had just blitzed Dallas for a 39-point quarter, and the Mavericks needed a spark to change the momentum. Green did it with his hustle. He played so well that coach Rick Carlisle left him out there for the entire quarter and brought him back to start the second half.
Green’s performance may not jump out in the box score. He finished with four points, four rebounds, three assists, and three steals in 24 minutes on Tuesday night. The 20-year-old rookie made a massive impact, though. He earned the Defensive Player of the Game belt as Dallas outscored the Heat by 17 points during his time on the floor. Here is a closer look at his impressive performance and what it could mean moving forward.
Josh Green proves he can make an impact as Dallas Mavericks extinguish Heat
It started with Green’s energy and effort on Tuesday night. He was all over the court, including diving for multiple loose balls. The 20-year-old made life more difficult on the Heat. His skill was on full display too. Here Green attacks a closeout for a finish at the rim.
He is not a big-time scorer at this point in his career, but Green made the defense pay for leaving him open on April 4. That is a key skill to staying on the court in an important game as the defense shifts their attention to Luka Doncic.
Green used the threat of his dive to find Tim Hardaway Jr. for a wide-open 3-pointer late in the second quarter.https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2021/05/04/0022000986/254/bb28581f-6693-73ce-da1e-b9583949c681_1280x720.mp4
The 20-year-old rookie displayed skills fans had not seen since the preseason. He made smart basketball decisions and helped his team win. Green gave the Dallas Mavericks multiple extra possessions against the Heat. His energy was contagious as the Mavs continue to battle through a jam-packed schedule.
Green had another impressive sequence in the second quarter. He found J.J. Redick for a wide-open corner 3-pointer, but the veteran missed the shot. As the Heat brought the ball back up the floor, Green jumped a pass and quickly found Luka Doncic to set up an easy transition bucket for Dallas. See the latter half of the sequence below.https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2021/05/04/0022000986/222/691576aa-6297-eff9-d21b-295062aa8862_1280x720.mp4
The Mavericks needed a spark after a slow start, and it was the rookie who delivered. Coach Rick Carlisle had this to say about Green after Tuesday’s win in Miami.
"“The guy that changed that game was Josh Green with his energy in the first half, particularly in the second quarter.”"
He later added this about Green’s performance.
"“He has just put in a tremendous amount of work on his individual game. He’s got one thing that you can’t teach, and that is an unbelievable heart to compete, to give energy, and be an energy giver to his teammates. It is rare you see a rookie perimeter player come in and score four points and make this kind of impact on a game, but it just goes to show how important hard play is in an NBA season.”"
The fruits of Green’s labor were on full display on April 4. It was arguably the best performance of his young NBA career.
The 20-year-old won the Defensive Player of the Game belt for the second time in the last week. He is making a positive impact down the stretch and helping the Mavs win crucial games. They are just one game out of the play-in tournament with seven to go. Green bringing energy is a must as the short-handed Mavericks fight to avoid the play-in chaos.
The 6’5 wing has played in five of the last six games, but his performance on Tuesday night likely earned him a guaranteed role on Thursday night as the Dallas Mavericks host the Brooklyn Nets. What can the rookie do as an encore? Stay tuned to find out.