Lakers’ Danny Green finds himself open late in Game 5 but can’t close it out

The Lakers' Danny Green shoots over the Heat's Duncan Robinson during Game 5 on Oct. 9, 2020.
The Lakers’ Danny Green shoots over the Heat’s Duncan Robinson during Game 5. Green later missed a potential game-winning three-point try late in the game.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The basketball was lined up for Danny Green to be the man of the hour for the Lakers on Friday night in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, to be the one who might possibly deliver them a victory and the franchise’s 17th NBA championship.

But when LeBron James passed the ball to a wide-open Green at the top of the key and the Lakers down by one, his three-point attempt grazed the front of the rim and bounced away with 7.1 seconds left.

James had made the right play again, taking on three Miami Heat defenders and then finding a struggling Green for a good, clean look that came up short.


“He was ready to take on the whole team. He had two guys on him, a third-guy defender came,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said of James on a video conference. “But with three guys on you, you make the right play. Danny is one of our best shooters. He got a great look, and you live with the results.”

The Heat prevail behind another stellar effort by Jimmy Butler, as LeBron James and the Lakers fail to close out the NBA Finals, which they lead 3-2.

Oct. 9, 2020

Even after Green missed the shot, Markieff Morris got the offensive rebound.

But his pass to Anthony Davis sailed out of bounds with 2.2 seconds left for yet another Lakers turnover in the fourth quarter, a second-chance possession in which they were unable to get up a shot, another sloppy play in the final 12 minutes when the game hung in the balance.

The Heat secured the game on two free throws by rookie Tyler Herro, and the result was the Lakers dropping a 111-108 decision to the Heat that forced a Game 6 at AdventHealth Arena on the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Green was having a tough game — and a tough series.

He wound up with eight points on three-for-eight shooting, two for five on three-pointers.

Photos from Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Lakers and Miami Heat in Orlando, Fla. The Miami Heat won the game, 111-108.

Oct. 9, 2020

Green has been playing with a hip issue, something Vogel said is not an injury.

Whatever the case may be, Green has had a difficult time in the Finals.

He entered Game 5 shooting 26.7% from the field and 20.8% from three-point range. He was averaging just 6.5 points.


Green didn’t talk to the media after the game, but James still liked the look his teammate got and said he’d make the same play again.

James had 40 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. But he still trusted Green to knock down the shot.

The Lakers lost their first chance to clinch the franchise’s 17th NBA championship with a 111-108 oss to the Miami Heat on Friday night in Orlando, Fla.

“He got a hell of a look, a hell of a look to win the game, to win the series,” James said. “It didn’t go down. And then we got the offensive rebound. We turned the ball over. We had a lot more time than I think we even thought after the offensive rebound. The pass wasn’t executed as we would like.”

The Lakers turned the ball over six times in the fourth quarter, none bigger than the one Morris made after he hustled for the offensive rebound off Green’s miss. For the game, the Lakers had 15 turnovers, four by James.

So instead of the Lakers winning their first championship since 2010, when Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol led them to the title over the Boston Celtics, the 2019-20 team will try it again. And the Lakers, losing for the first time wearing the “Black Mamba” jerseys, dropped to 4-1 in the uniforms they are wearing to honor the late Bryant.


The Lakers still lead the series 3-2 and can close out the stubborn and gritty Heat on Sunday.

“We got to be better,” James said. “We got to be better in Game 6 and close out the series.”