It wasn’t exactly a perfect night for Danny Granger, playing his first game of the season for the Pacers after working his way back from a severe knee injury.
Granger missed his first eight shots of the game, but playing against a woeful Pistons team that Indiana had just beaten by 32 the night before, the team wasn’t exactly looking for any additional contributions. He finally got one to go early in the fourth that pushed his team’s lead to 20 once the shot went down.
He lingered behind everybody else, took in a long pass from Paul George and made a 15-foot jumper with 9:25 left in the game.
As they’ve done all season, the Pacers erupted off the bench in excitement. Granger’s teammates mobbed him like he made a game-winning shot as he walked off the court during the next timeout.
“I knew I was going to hear it from the guys cause I had missed so many shots,” Granger said laughing. “I was 0-for-8 at that point. I just couldn’t get it going. I was just happy to score at that point.”
Granger could be a huge boost for the Pacers if he can regain the form he had before the injury, when he consistently showed his ability to score, and often times did so when his team needed him the most.
There will be an adjustment period for the Pacers, who have played well to this point in the season without him. But as he regains his conditioning and his confidence, Granger should bolster Indiana in plenty of time for the team’s run into the postseason.
Report: Kentucky’s Bam Adebayo staying in NBA draft
He’s a ferocious dunker. All his best skills – motor, explosiveness, physicality – come together to produce slams.
But Adebayo is an underwhelming shot-blocker and rebounder, and those same tools should translate. That speaks’ to his focus.
He has a center’s game. But at 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-1.5 wingspan, does he have a center’s size? Adebayo can’t step away from the basket or handle the ball, so if he can’t bang with NBA centers, he’s in trouble.
NBA: James Harden should have been called for offensive foul late in Rockets’ Game 4 win over Thunder
The Rockets were trying to protect a two-point lead as they inbounded with 7.8 seconds left in Game 4 against the Thunder on Sunday, and James Harden wanted the ball. So, the Houston star pushed offAlex Abrines.
The play still turned chaotic – Russell Westbrook tipping the inbound pass and Eric Gordon recovering the loose ball – but it never should have gotten that far. Harden should have been called for an offensive foul, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:
Harden (HOU) pushes off Abrines (OKC) to create space during the inbound.
A correct call would have given Oklahoma City the ball down two with 7.8 seconds left and a real chance to tie or take the lead.
Instead, the Thunder had to intentionally foul Gordon, who hit two free throws to effectively ice a 113-109 Rockets win. Houston now leads the first-round series, 3-1.
NBA: LeBron James got away with travelling before go-ahead 3-pointer in Cavaliers’ Game 4 win over Pacers
The Cavaliers outscored the Pacers by just 16 points in their first-round series – tied for the narrowest margin ever in a four-game sweep. (The Warriors also outscored the Washington Bullets while sweeping the 1975 Finals.)
So, each Cleveland-Indiana game was close, including Sunday’s Game 4, which the Cavs won 106-102.
LeBron James hit a 3-pointer with 1:08 left to put the Cavaliers up 103-102, and they added a few free throws after intentional fouls to produce the final margin. But LeBron travelled with 1:14 left while making his move to get that 3-pointer, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:
James (CLE) moves his pivot foot at the start of his dribble.
A correct call would’ve ended Cleveland’s possession and given Indiana the ball with a two-point lead. Instead, the Pacers had only one possession before they had to begin intentionally fouling.
Would Indiana have won if the travel were called? Probably, though the odds would have been only slightly better than a coin flip.
Would the Pacers have won the series if the travel were called? Probably not. No team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit, and even a Game 4 win was far from guaranteed with a travel call. But they might have at least felt better about not getting swept.
Raptors’ Norman Powell had a couple monster dunks Monday (VIDEO)
“Give all praise to Norman Powell with his energy, his athleticism, his passion, just everything he brought to us this series.”
That was Kyle Lowry talking about what his Raptor Norman Powell, who put up a career playoff best 25 points in the Raptors’ Game 5 win. Powell played good defense on Khris Middleton and drained some deep threes to help Toronto pull away in this one. Lowry was so impressed after the game at a press conference he told the media to ask Powell questions, not him.
Oh, and Powell threw down some huge dunks, too. Just check out the video.