The Herald Bulletin

December 21, 2013

Granger just may be the ticket


The Herald Bulletin

---- — Though it's very early and he's only played one game, but Danny Granger could be just what the Indiana Pacers need to go to the NBA Finals this season.

Certainly he will need to shoot a higher percentage than the 1-of-7 he tallied on Friday against Houston, but there were so many other positives about his showing in that blowout win that I barely noticed his misses.

He had only been in the game about a minute before he showed he had been watching the team's success intently from the bench this season. He block from the back on Houston's Dwight Howard indicates he knows that part of his game will need to be consistently good if he's to spend a lot of quality minutes on the floor.

Even before he made his second appearance of the game, he showed that he is willing to take shots in the rhythm of the offense and to be a source of assists for his teammates. That is something that all of the Pacers have been doing each game this season.

Also, he proved he can produce effectively even if he has to be on the floor at the same time as Paul George. Some feared he might not be as effective in that role or that he might reduce George's effectiveness, but there was no evidence of that on Friday.

Before Friday's game George brought up a reason I hadn't seriously considered as a bonus to Granger's return. George said he would get a few more minutes of rest each game with Danny on the floor. That could pay off big down the stretch and into the playoffs since George routinely guards the opposition's best player.

It was heart warming to hear the fans at Banker's Life on Friday chanting Granger's name as he waited at the scorer's bench before entering the game for the first time. Granger has done virtually nothing for the Indiana faithful for two seasons, but the fans treated him like a returning hero anyway and that was great to hear.

Next up for the Pacers this evening is a game at home against the Boston Celtics and former Butler coach Brad Stevens. This might be the first time ever I really want a Stevens' coach team to get crushed. But that's how I feel about tonight's contest.

Tonight is my family's Christmas get together and I am looking forward to spending that time with them. But you can bet my DVR will be recording to give me some high quality sports entertainment for late into the night.

This is my final column before Christmas Day and I hope everyone has a happy holiday as well as a warm safe one.

Sports Editor Rick Teverbaugh can be reached at (765) 6404886 or at rick.teverbaugh@heraldbulletin.com