We are about to see one of the two returns that could make the Eastern Conference playoffs more interesting.
Danny Granger is expected to make his season debut for the Indiana Pacers Saturday night against the Pistons, reports Mike Wells of the Indy Star. Granger has missed the entire season with a knee injury and his return was expected this weekend.
Without Granger the Pacers are 34-21, currently the second seed in the East. They have the league’s best defense but an offense ranked 21st in the league.
Granger, the Pacers leading scorer at 18.7 points a game last season, can help change that. He is not the most efficient scorer (he shot just 41.6 percent last season) but he can space the floor and knock down threes (38.1 percent clip last year) and if he can learn to co-exist with the newly emerged All-Star Paul George the Pacers will now have a couple of players who can create their own shot, break down defenses and put the ball in the basket.
Indiana showed last year they have no fear of the Heat (they were up 2-1 in that series and forced the Heat to adjust their game) and they have a defense that can keep Miami’s stars in as much check as anyone. The Pacers can attack the Heat with size, one vulnerability teams want to go after.
Ultimately, Indiana will need the Roy Hibbert of last season to show up (it’s not been his best season, to be kind) to have a real chance. But in an East where we are trying to see who will break out of the pack and really try to challenge the Heat for conference supremacy, the Pacers may be the best call. Chicago, when it gets Derrick Rose back and the Knicks if they can get their defense back, are in the mix. But before the season I saw the Pacers as the second best team in the East and now that may finally be coming together.
Matt Barnes is an instigator. He has been arrested for domestic violence. He also had a weird thing where he implied he was dating Rihanna only for her to claim they’d never never met.
Which is to say this is believable – that the Grizzlies forward attacked Knicks coach Derek Fisher for dating his estranged wife.
Ian Mohr of the New York Post:
Sources said Fisher was at the LA home of Gloria Govan — Barnes’ estranged wife, who stars on “Basketball Wives LA” — on Saturday. Fisher and Govan have been dating for “a few months,” a source said, after Fisher filed to divorce his wife of 10 years, Candace, in March.
But when Barnes learned that Fisher was at his former home with Gloria, he drove 95 miles to LA to “beat the s–t” out of Fisher, sources said.
“Derek was in Gloria’s back yard with about 10 people having a bonfire on Saturday,” said a source. “Derek’s separated from his wife and there’s a relationship with [Gloria].”
The source added, “Barnes was in Santa Barbara [at Memphis Grizzlies training camp] and heard that Fisher was in his house. He went crazy. He got in his car and went to the house and went after Fisher.”
A source close to Fisher confirmed the fight but said, “Matt came after Derek but he only had a few scratches … Derek’s not going to press charges, he’s going to let it go.”
Even if Fisher – who missed practice Monday for what the Knicks called “personal reasons” – isn’t pressing charges, the NBA is investigating.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
This is a weird jurisdictional issue, especially if no criminal charges are filed. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the league punishes Barnes – a former Lakers teammate of Fisher – if it finds evidence to support the Post’s description of events.
Caron Butler wrote an autobiography, a recently published excerpt details his accounting of the Gilbert Arenas-Javaris Crittenton gun incident when they were with the Wizards.
An excerpt of the excerpt in The Washington Post:
When I entered the locker room, I thought I had somehow been transported back to my days on the streets of Racine. Gilbert was standing in front of his two locker stalls, the ones previously used by Michael Jordan, with four guns on display. Javaris was standing in front of his own stall, his back to Gilbert.
“Hey, MF, come pick one,” Gilbert told Javaris while pointing to the weapons. “I’m going to shoot your [expletive] with one of these.”
“Oh no, you don’t need to shoot me with one of those,” said Javaris, turning around slowly like a gunslinger in the Old West. “I’ve got one right here.”
He pulled out his own gun, already loaded, cocked it, and pointed it at Gilbert.
Other players who had been casually arriving, laughing and joking with each other, came to a sudden halt, their eyes bugging out. It took them only a few seconds to realize this was for real, a shootaround of a whole different nature. They all looked at each other and then they ran, the last man out locking the door behind him.
Somebody outside the locker room called 911. Flip Saunders was the coach back then, but he was too scared to even come into the locker room.
Click through to read the entire excerpt. It’s captivating.
Arenas is essentially retired and still spouting off silly takes.
Crittenton is currently serving a 23-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter.
Butler plays for the Kings.