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Looking For Pacer Positives

The struggles of the Indiana Pacers are well documented. As losses mount there's plenty of blame to go around. Injuries to key players. Inconsistent play. Defensive breakdowns. Lack of go-to-guy to close out games. Okay, that's enough.

Believe it or not, there are actually some positive developments that deserve mention. For instance, the play of Danny Granger over the past 15 games has been outstanding. Granger has averaged 21 points over that stretch including one clunker, a 9 point effort when the Pistons blew out the Pacers early just prior to the All-Star break.

During that time, Danny put together a streak of 64 straight made free throws. Anytime you're breaking a team shooting record held by Reggie Miller, you're doing something right. Granger has been solid from distance, too, making 36 treys at a 44% clip.

Granger's game hasn't arrived at a level we all hope he can attain, but it has been a pleasure watching him make big strides in that direction. When he has it going, Granger is taking what's his. It probably helps that Jamaal Tinsley and Jermaine O'Neal haven't been around, which forces Granger to raise his game. Now that he's consistently producing, Granger should maintain his aggressive play when Tins and J.O. return.

Despite the great play of late, Granger has struggled, along with his teammates, at producing down the stretch of close games. But, again, that's part of his overall game that needs to develop. Yes, he's struggling, but he's also getting plenty of opportunities. His blood just remains a little too warm during those key possessions late in games. He's getting a crash course in closing out games and hopefully can learn from the failures to eventually frost-freeze those veins, stare down the opponent and go for the kill.