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Pacers Preseason: Gerald Green keeps game grounded to take off in NBA

Gerald Green had to slow his game down to make it work in the NBA. Fortunately, there's still plenty of room make astonishing plays above the rim.

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

When you have excess athletic ability on the basketball court, it only seems natural to beg for the ball and then expect everyone else to get out of the way.

Indiana Pacers wing Gerald Green found out the hard way that his athletic advantage wasn't all he needed in the NBA. Instead of trying to dictate the action, he instead needed to let the game come to him. It took six different stops in the NBA and a few other hard lessons in foreign leagues, but Green has a far better idea of how to make his game work in the NBA these days.

"I just try to let the game come to me, not try to force the issue," Green said about adjusting his game to remain in the NBA. "I just try to execute the offense. Coach Frank likes offensive execution and that's just what i try to do."

That sill leaves plenty of room for the eye-poppin', high-hoppin' plays like the lob dunk against Minnesota that sent the Fieldhouse faithful home buzzing after the win last Friday. But before the furious finish Green helped fuel for the Pacers in the second half, the high-flying forward did just as he said -- let the game come to him.

In the first half against Minnesota, Green made the only two shots he took to finish the half with five points. I was beginning to wonder if he was going to float through the game like another No. 25 (Brandon Rush) we used to watch.

But then Green found himself in the flow of the game as the Pacers rallied in the second half. He scored 13 second-half points on 6 of 12 shooting from the floor to finish the game with an efficient 18 points. Aside from a 3-pointer or two too many, Green's offense came as part of the offensive flow while still showing that freakish athletic ability.

It's a formula that works for Green, easing up on the throttle to make sure he's under control and then picking his spots and taking good shots that will keep him in the NBA this time around.

"Honestly, early in my career, I used to take bad shots," Green said. "I think I've slowed down a lot as far as knowing what shot selection to take for me. I think I have to give a lot of credit to Eric Musselman and coach Avery Johnson but then again I gotta give a lot of credit to Coach Frank. He's done a great job of designing an offense to make it easy for me to score."

Green sure does make it look easy to score.

For more great stuff on Gerald Green's journey back to the NBA with the Pacers, check out Conrad Brunners latest on