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: Warriors to replace Luke Walton from outside the organization
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
ESPN sources say the Warriors, meanwhile, plan to go outside the organization at season's end for a replacement to add to the current staff.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
Luke Walton's contract to coach the Lakers will be for five years and about $25 million.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.
Luke Walton says he won’t run the triangle as Lakers coach
On Friday night, the Lakers announced that they’re hiring Luke Walton as their next head coach, effective as soon as the Warriors’ playoff run is over. It’s a good hire, but it’s especially interesting given Walton’s close relationship with Phil Jackson and the rumors that never seem to go away, that Jackson might be set up to return to the Lakers to run the team alongside fiancée Jeanie Buss after next season, when he has an opt-out in his contract with the Knicks.
But that doesn’t mean Walton will be running the triangle, as he said in his first comments to reporters since the news broke.
Via the Orange County Register‘s Bill Oram:
Luke: "I don't think the triangles the most appropriate offense for the players that they have down there." Says styles will be more GSW
Regardless of whether Jackson eventually gets back in the picture in Los Angeles, Walton has been a successful assistant in Golden State and has the right temperament to lead the Lakers into the post-Kobe era.
Steve Kerr: “Not going to rule out” Stephen Curry for Game 2 vs. Blazers
Stephen Curry might be back sooner than expected. It’s been one week since he suffered the sprained MCL in his right knee that led the Warriors to rule him out for at least two weeks, but head coach Steve Kerr said Saturday that there’s at least an outside chance he could play Tuesday in Game 2 of Golden State’s second-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Via ESPN.com’s Marc Stein:
Steve Kerr on Steph Curry: "I'm not going to rule him out for Tuesday (Game 2 against Portland) but there's obviously not much of a chance."
Obviously, the smart money is on Curry not playing this early in his timetable. But the fact that it’s even on the table would seem to indicate that, barring a setback, he’ll be back for at least some of the series, which tips off Sunday.