Danny Granger signed a massive extension before last season. He hadn’t been to the playoffs, but the Pacers had drafted well, had a good core in place, and it was, you know, a ton of money. An epic load of money.
And that money? Still good. Still buying batcaves. But the rest of the team has fallen apart. Roy Hibbert’s turning into a good, but not great, center. Brandon Rush is getting there, but not getting to the top. A.J. Price? Again, pretty good. Tyler Hansbrough? Ear infection.Okay, freak accident, whatever.
But the team is horrible. Some people toss out the Nets as the worst franchise, because they’re not winning games. Just so we’re clear, winning games is a good indicator of a good franchise, it gets more complicated in determining bad ones. Others dish the Bobcats as the worst, because they’re not shedding salary and planning for five years in the future, and instead trying to win now and trusting their ability to get out of it in the future.
But the Pacers? They’ve been mediocre and getting worse for the last four years. They rely on Granger to save them every game. Larry Bird has done a valiant thing in taking the time to rehab the Pacers’ image, but they’re still waiting on either Granger to become a real superstar or to draft/sign one. As far as Granger’s concerned though, he has no regrets about putting his lot with the Pacers.
Granger told the Indianapolis Star that not only does he not regret the extension, but that it was a “no-brainer.” It’s a good thing, since his contract is big and long enough to make a deal for him tricky, and that’s before you factor in the fact that he’s the Pacers’ best player. It’s also just good to see a player loyal to his team. It says something for the Pacers’ organization that he has faith in them, even if the on-court results aren’t particularly confidence inspiring.
There was a scary moment during the matchup between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. During a change of possession, Houston’s Trevor Ariza and and Golden State’s James Michael McAdoo got tangled up and fell together on the floor.
McAdoo was under Ariza and wound up getting his head slammed into the hardwood. He was immediately taken off the floor and sent to the locker room.
The NBATV broadcast said McAdoo received stitches but did not test positive for a concussion. He is averaging 8.7 minutes, 2.9 points, and 1.7 rebounds per-game for the Warriors.
Jusuf Nurkic did not enjoy his time as a member of the Denver Nuggets. His trade to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Mason Plumlee was a welcome change of scenery.
On Tuesday night, Nurkic got to take on his old team with huge playoff implications at stake. Portland beat the Nuggets, 122-113, moving a game ahead of their rivals in the race for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and giving them the best tiebreaker between the two.
Nurkic was impressive, blasting his old squad with 33 points on 12-of-15 shooting, adding 16 rebounds, three blocks, and two assists.
Nurkic was interviewed in the arena after the game, and he was obviously happy he helped his team while also sticking it to Denver. Speaking with Portland reporter Brooke Olzendam, Nurkic took one last shot at the Nuggets, telling them to enjoy their summer.
Nurkic quite possibly sent the Nuggets packing for the year with the game at the Moda Center on Tuesday, so he might have been the guy who helped start their summer.
Still, that is ice cold.
Miami Heat forward James Johnson is one of the NBA’s best in-game dunkers. On Tuesday night against the Detroit Pistons, he yammed down a huge one-handed slam that embarrassed Marcus Morris and drew gasps from the crowd at the Palace.
The play came midway through the fourth quarter with Johnson at the top of the key. After a quick pass over to him, Johnson gave a quick hesitation before driving to his left and past his defender.
With the quick step, Johnson’s only remaining opponent at the basket was Morris, who was unfortunate enough to find himself between the high-flying Heat and the rim.
This is what happened next:
Morris was whistled for a foul on the play.
The Miami Heat took until the final moments on Tuesday night to beat the Detroit Pistons, but it was worth it. With just a handful of games left to play, the Heat need to stave off the Chicago Bulls for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Thanks to a tip at the buzzer by Hassan Whiteside, they’re one step closer to achieving that goal.
The play came with just seconds left in the fourth quarter. James Johnson missed a shot with six seconds to go, and the Heat grabbed the rebound. Goran Dragic then tried his hand, but he couldn’t get it to go, either.
That’s when Whiteside came back with a tip at the buzzer that ended the game.
Miami now sits at 36-38, a game above the Bulls for the No. 8 seed.
Whiteside, meanwhile, is never going to wash that hand again: