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Spurs’ saviors nearly never made it in NBA
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On June 12, 2013 @ 9:09 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
SAN ANTONIO — Danny Green and Gary Neal are new three-point shooting sensations and hope to etch their names into NBA Finals history with another breakout performance Thursday at the AT&T Center.
Just getting the opportunity is something they’re adjusting to.
Green didn’t even have a team three seasons ago after being cut by the Cleveland Cavaliers and wondered about his future in the NBA.
“There were many doubts,” Green said. “I didn’t know where (my career) was going, and I was losing confidence.”
Neal hopscotched Europe — Turkey, Spain, Italy and back to Spain in three seasons — before getting a chance in the NBA. Even on the day Neal walked into the San Antonio Spurs’ training facility in 2010, coach Gregg Popovich didn’t know who he was.
“I was comfortable with the financial situation in Italy,” Neal said. “With me getting married and wanting to start a family, I kind of wanted to be in the States. I never had a chance at the NBA. I never played summer league, never did a minicamp or anything.
“So when the opportunity came knocking, I said I’ll try. Hopefully I’ll be able to make the best of it, and I was able to make the best of it.”
These guys are Spurs through and through, picked out of nowhere and taking advantage of an opportunity. In typical Spurs fashion, general manager R.C. Buford and Popovich wanted them to fill a role.
“Me and Danny both went through a lot of stuff together,” Neal said. “We were guys that showed up two hours before practice to get shots up and to prove to the coaching staff that we belong and we’re going to do whatever we need to do to get minutes.”
Neal and Green surprised and amazed in San Antonio’s 113-77 win vs. the Miami Heat in Game3 on Tuesday. Green had a game-high 27 points and shot 7-for-9 on three-pointers; Neal was 6-for-10 on threes and had 24 points. They outscored Miami’s starting five by eight points as the team set an NBA Finals record with 16 three-pointers.
“Pop and R.C. obviously do a great job of … [For more on San Antonio Spurs' saviors nearly never made it in NBA, click here.]
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