Raptors' Green on slump: 'Just keep shooting'

Green won't hesitate to shoot despite struggles (0:48)

Danny Green says people telling him to keep shooting isn't helping him, and he knows not to second-guess himself. (0:48)

TORONTO -- The Raptors' Danny Green is well aware of how much he struggled in the Eastern Conference finals against the Milwaukee Bucks.

The problem for Green is that everyone else is aware of it, too.

"Just keep shooting," Green said Monday, when asked how he gets himself out of a shooting slump. "Don't think about it. And it's hard not to think about it because everybody in the world's telling you don't think about it, [and] everybody you come across [is telling you] keep shooting it.

"People text me to 'don't think about it.' I know that. ... I'm not second-guessing myself.

"But just keep shooting, don't think about it and try to block out the noise from the media, your inbox, and everybody else that tells you not to think about it."

Everyone in Toronto was thinking about Green's struggles against the Bucks, as the typically reliable veteran shooter -- Green shot 45.5 percent from behind the 3-point arc in the regular season -- was a dismal 4-for-23 (15.3 percent) from behind the arc against Milwaukee, including missing 14 of his last 15 attempts.

Had Toronto been told Green would go into that big of a slump before the series, the Raptors wouldn't have felt confident about their chances. But Green was fortunate in that Fred VanVleet -- who had been mired in his own horrendous slump from the start of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers through Game 3 against the Bucks -- turned things around in a huge way over the final three games of the series.

While Green couldn't hit a 3, VanVleet virtually couldn't miss, going 14-for-17 from the floor from Games 4 through 6 -- after his second child, Fred Jr., was born between Games 3 and 4 -- to help the Raptors win four straight games and advance to their first NBA Finals in franchise history.

"I got some clean looks," Green said. "I just didn't get the rhythm that I was hoping to get. But Norm [Powell], and Fred, they got some pretty good looks because they handle the ball more, they had more ball handlers on the floor at that time where they could attack and find each other. They got some open looks and they got a rhythm and, obviously, some of the time, they weren't guarding Norm as a shooter and then he started hitting some and then they started playing him closely and they both attacked the basket and his game is getting to the rim, getting to the basket.

"But he hit some big shots for us. And then Fred, just him just being active and moving ... thank God for Freddie Jr. He got some good looks and he was just knocking them down."

For the Raptors to do what many think is impossible, however, and beat the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, they'll need Green to return to his old self. While VanVleet could operate effectively next to Kyle Lowry in place of Green in Toronto's backcourt against Milwaukee, that will be more difficult against Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

On top of that, Green is one of several key Raptors -- along with Kawhi Leonard, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol -- who has faced Golden State in the postseason. That institutional knowledge is something Raptors coach Nick Nurse is hoping to lean on as he begins preparing to try to slow down the two-time defending champions ahead of Game 1 here at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday night.

"Yeah, I think it helps, obviously," Nurse said, adding that assistant Adrian Griffin also has faced the Warriors multiple times after working under Billy Donovan in Oklahoma City the past two seasons. "I think the one big thing that you need to go in there with is that you can guard them, right, and those guys at least have played them.

"There's a lot of good ideas from a lot of guys, and we certainly open our ears and listen to our guys. Why wouldn't you, man?

"They're the ones out there. They're the ones that have been through it already."

As the series against the Bucks wore on, though, Green was out there less and less. The Raptors simply couldn't afford to see him miss shot after shot.

Toronto will be hoping that a new opponent and a new series will allow Green to get back to what he spent all season doing for the Raptors: making shots.

For Toronto to have a chance, they'll need him to.

"I think it's a new series for Danny," Lowry said. "I think that series happened a certain way. It's over with now. I don't think that even matters. I don't think anything that happened the last series matters, besides us finding ways to win games. That's what we take from that series. Danny will be fine.

"Game 1, he'll be ready to go."