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.
As of tomorrow, training camps around the league open, and all the focus goes to the 2016-17 season.
For fun, let’s look back one more time at last season — the 50 top circus shots of last season.
Stephen Curry driving the lane and throwing up prayers once he draws contact (and hitting them), there is Russell Westbrook throwing the inbounds pass off an opponent’s back, and so much more. Enjoy. Then let’s get on with next season.
To avoid trash talk, Steven Adams told Kevin Garnett he didn’t speak English
Kevin Garnett intimidates people. In the machismo-fueled world of professional sports nobody comfortably admits they were intimidated, but in the wake of Garnett announcing his retirement, a number of players stepped forward to say exactly that. And that KG trashed talked them fearlessly.
Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams found a way to avoid that — tell KG he didn’t speak English.
Steven Adams reflecting on Kevin Garnett's retirement. Said he pulled the "no English" card when KG tried to talk to him: pic.twitter.com/uUVgisG4vb
Athletes are injecting themselves into the needed national conversation about race, violence, and policing in this nation. That has taken some very public forms, including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony speaking at the ESPYs, and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem and leading others to do so. Some NBA players likely will follow Kaepernick’s lead.
Pistons coach/GM Stan Van Gundy likes seeing players speak out.
“I’m encouraged by the fact of what some of those guys stood up and did at the ESPYs and had a conversation,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we have guys that not only see the problem, but want to try to do something about it…
“To me, in some ways, (police brutality is) just the most visible to focus on and it goes to deeper inequities in our criminal justice system, our education system so there’s so much to focus on,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s great that we have players that want to be part of that conversation, and a lot of players that want to go beyond the conversation and be part of the solution.”
Van Gundy has been telling his players part of that solution is to vote.
The players union and NBA sent out a release saying they wanted to work together to create positive change, but details are still vague on what that might be. The only thing we know for sure as we head into the NBA season — with as divided a nation and election as anyone can remember as a backdrop — is that some NBA players are going to try and keep the conversation going.
Sunday is 16th anniversary of greatest dunk ever: Vince Carter over Frederic Weis
In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.