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Jeff Green highlights preseason with huge dunk on Ian Mahinmi

WASHINGTON -- For the briefest of moments Sunday, the Cleveland Cavaliers had 13 players on the court while the ball was in play in their preseason game against the Washington Wizards.

Don't blame Cavs coach Tyronn Lue for a mass substitution gone awry. Blame Jeff Green.

They almost had to stop the game at Capital One Arena after this Jeff Green dunk. Patrick Smith/Getty
The backup forward's left-handed dunk over Washington's 6-11 center Ian Mahinmi in the second quarter caused Cleveland's bench to lose its collective mind for a moment and spring forward from their seats in delirious celebration.

"I saw them as I was backpedaling," Green, a Georgetown alum, said after his homecoming game. "They were all on the floor. Literally on the floor. That was fun, that was cool."

In what figured to be a waste of a preseason game with the Cavs holding nine of their 20 players out of the lineup -- including their entire starting lineup -- for either rest or rehabilitation, Green turned in a performance worth tuning in to. The 10-year veteran had 19 points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes in Cleveland's 102-94 loss to Washington.

It wasn't just production, either. It was production with style. Five of his eight field goals were dunks -- including the one he yolked on Mahinmi -- and he also contributed a chase-down block on Kelly Oubre Jr., with the 31-year-old Green looking every bit as athletic as the 21-year-old Wizards forward.

"Those are the things he's capable of doing," Lue said. "Just got to continue to keep doing them. Very talented, very skilled -- I've been saying it since he got here Day 1. Very smart."

Lue coached Green as an assistant coach in Boston under Doc Rivers. With their bond established, Lue called up Green this past summer with an offer to join Cleveland to play backup minutes behind LeBron James and Kevin Love. Green made $15 million for the Orlando Magic last year but put up career lows across the board -- 9.1 points on 39.4 percent shooting overall, 27.5 percent from 3 and 3.1 rebounds per game. The Cavs were offering only a veteran minimum deal of $2.1 million. Why did Green accept?

"Look around the locker room," he said. "Look at the opportunity we have ... to learn from LeBron and (Dwyane) Wade now. ... I had that opportunity when they called and now I have it. It was a no-brainer to pick Cleveland to win the championship this year."

Lue offers praise for Green the person, as much as he does for Green the player -- a 6-foot-9, 235-pound swingman with perhaps the most chiseled body on the Cavs, James included.

"I always talk about, if I had a daughter, he'd be the guy I'd want her to bring home because he's a great guy, great person," Lue said.

Green appreciates the confidence Lue instills in him.

"He's put me in great positions to succeed," Green said. "That's all you can ask for as a coach and he's given me that. I'm working hard to prove myself to him that I can do it."

He's proved enough so far in training camp to leapfrog Channing Frye in Lue's rotation.

"We talked, me and Channing, I was like, 'Man, I'm sorry,'" Lue said. "He said, 'Listen, I'm very excited about our team, not too many opportunities to get to play on a team like this.' He said, 'If I have to wear a suit all season for us to win, that's what I'll do.'"

Green will be a part of what's considered the deepest Cavs bench since James returned to Cleveland in 2014. It's a bench that desperately needed to be upgraded after the Golden State Warriors' reserves outscored Cleveland's substitutions 113-69 in their four Finals wins. Frye, who averaged 9.1 points in the regular season, barely played against Warriors because of matchup problems.

Green knows he is coming off the worst season of his career and is only a few years removed from missing the entire 2011-12 season after undergoing heart surgery at the Cleveland Clinic to repair an aortic root aneurysm. He says he doesn't dwell on the past and the "road blocks" he hit in Orlando, but he acknowledges that this season can serve as a reminder of the type of talent he has.

"It's proving to everybody," Green said. "Everybody has their opinions of what Jeff Green should be or what I can do, but I have to go out there and prove it to myself that I work hard and I put in the work to be in the position I'm in. So I got to go out there and do it."

He's happy to do it in a city that gave him a second chance once before already.

"It saved my life," Green said of the Cleveland Clinic. "It saved my life. When you think about it, it's a place that gave me new life, and hopefully this year it can give me a refresher on my career. So I guess Cleveland is a city for me that brings a lot of newness to my life. We'll see at the end of this year -- in June -- what that turns out to be."

Author: Dave McMenamin, ESPN
Source: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/20961843/nba-jeff-green-dunks-all-washington

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