Notebook: Green gets off shooting schneid

By Jeff McDonald

HOUSTON – Danny Green’s first jumper of the game was good, a 20-footer just inside the left arc.

He followed that with a 3-pointer, and then another.

By the time Green left the Toyota Center on Sunday afternoon, having canned 6 of 9 field goals good for 15 points in the Spurs’ 116-107 preseason win over Houston, he was ready to declare his shooting slump dead.

“It’s easy to get in a rhythm once you get the first one out of your holster,” Green said. “You shoot with a little more confidence. You don’t have to think about it so much.”

For much of the preseason, Green’s goal has been to keep his many misfires from getting into his head.

Heading into Sunday’s game, the Spurs’ starting shooting guard had clanged 11 of his 15 attempts in three exhibition contests.

That came on the heels of a Western Conference finals series against Oklahoma City last postseason in which Green went 8 of 31 and was eventually benched in favor of Manu Ginobili.

With Sunday’s sizzling performance, Green lifted his preseason shooting percentage a full 15 points, from 26.7 percent to 41.7 percent.

“I’ve been putting up extra shots, and they’ve been feeling good,” Green said. “Hopefully, I got over that mental slump and can get it rolling again.”

Manu’s back: Ginobili returned to action after missing two games with a minor foot injury.

He played a shade less than 18 minutes, scoring 11 points with three assists, including a nifty no-look pass to set up Tony Parker’s only basket of the game.

Just getting on the floor was important for Ginobili, who said his conditioning might not have survived a more extended layoff.

“In six days or seven days (off), I didn’t lose much conditioning,” the 35-year-old guard said. “It’s good that I didn’t have to miss more practice time or playing time, because then it would start to go downhill.”

Ginobili said he felt a pinching sensation in the heel of his right foot after logging 12 minutes in the Spurs’ preseason opener against Montespachi Siena on Oct. 6. An MRI came back clean, and rest seemed to do the trick.

“It bothered me for three or four days,” Ginobili said. “I didn’t practice much. On the fifth or sixth day, I started to feel better and got back to work.”

Mills’ return imminent: Backup point guard Patrick Mills, out for two games with a sprained right ankle, says he hopes he can return to practice Monday morning.

“It was a little one, just a scratch,” Mills said. “I’m fine.”

Barring a setback in practice over the next five days, it’s likely Mills will be activated for the Spurs’ next preseason game, Saturday in Miami.
Twitter: @JMcDonald_SAEN

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