Shooting guard Danny Green made his regular season debut in San Antonio on Wednesday night, as the Spurs fell to the Houston Rockets in a tight 99-101 loss. After missing the first seven games of the season with a quad strain, Green shook the rust off his jump shot, contributing eight points in 26 minutes, including a pair of triples. Kawhi Leonard once again paced the team, notching 34 points, with LaMarcus Aldridge and David Lee both reaching double figures.
"My body reacted better than I expected to," Green told assembled reporters after the game. "Legs aren't fully there yet, as you can see on the fast break. It was a good game for me to come back and get thrown in the fire."
On the court, Green spent much of his night shadowing James Harden, who led the Rockets in scoring with 24 points. Despite searching for his rhythm on the offensive end, Green was in top defensive form, showcasing the game that makes him one of the league's elite "3-and-D" specialists.
Green enters the season hoping to bounce back from a campaign that saw him mired in a shooting slump. He rediscovered his stroke during last season's playoffs, albeit a little too late to overcome the Oklahoma City Thunder. As the Spurs continue to adjust to a trio of big men in the paint, Green's shooting will be critical to providing spacing on the floor.
With Green back in the fold and flanking Leonard, the Spurs employ one of the sharpest defensive tandems in the NBA. His streaky ability to string together buckets in a matter of minutes can often appear contagious to the other shooters on the squad. Gunners like Patty Mills and Davis Bertans will likely benefit from Green's presence.
After losing their third game at the AT&T Center, the Spurs look to turn things around at home on Friday against the Detroit Pistons. The contest will serve as a homecoming of sorts for former Spurs Boban Marjanovic and Aaron Baynes. For Green, it represents another opportunity to fine-tune his shooting touch and readjust to the speed of pro basketball.