If any of you have ever seen the movie "(500) Days of Summer" then you'll remember that there's a particular scene where the boy in the movie is chasing the girl, and in the climax of the film he meets her at a party. What happens and what the boy wants to happen are split in an expectations vs. reality split screen. It's a pretty creative idea and it's often how we view situations in real life. On so many occasions we approach a situation and expect someone to do something before reality quickly lets us know that probably won't happen. I think that sums up a good part of Willie Green's season. But for one night, Willie Green was untouchable and that game's the number nine moment on the top ten of the Hornets 2010/2011 season.
Over the course of the entire season, Willie Green was a below average scorer with the basketball. In some cases, people will say I'm being generous by making that statement. Willie didn't miss any games due to injury this year and only put up a 100 offensive rating and a 10.8 PER. But for one night, Green channeled his inner Michael Jordan and took the Phoenix Suns by storm. The night was April 8th of 2011 and it was game 79 for the Hornets; who were fresh off of clinching a playoff spot. Conversely, Phoenix was not going to the postseason and had absolutely nothing to play for. But they jumped out to an early lead to get things going in the game. And then Willie Green went off.
Willie scored in a variety of ways: cutting to the basket, even dunking the basketball, shooting from behind the arc, basically scoring from spots that he hadn't scored at all year. And he didn't stop. If there was a hand in his face it didn't matter. If he was wide open it didn't matter. If people were yelling at him it didn't matter. Willie Green made his first 12 shots of the basketball game; all this after going 5 for 15 in the previous 3 games. And Green's points weren't hollow either. The Hornets entered the 4th quarter only up by 6 points when Green started his initial tear. The game was still within reach with the Hornets up 99-88 when Green himself scored 3 baskets in 29 seconds to help the Hornets push the lead to 107-88 and put the game out of reach.
In starting off 12-12, Green was the shortest player to ever do so in a single game and that adds some historical significance to his achievement. Green wasn't a 7 footer who was scoring a lot around the basket. Green was making jump shots and made his first 12. Regardless of how you look at it, that's impressive. The clock struck midnight mid-game for Green and he promptly missed his next five shots (on that first missed field goal attempt, Willie didn't even hit the rim) and, to me, that made the night all the more special.
So for one night at least, Willie was the scorer we all wished he would be. And he definitely played a huge role in helping the Hornets win the basketball game. So coming in at number 9 on the list is the night that Willie Green went off.