I mean seriously, who doesn't love the Indiana Pacers' new coach.
Danny Granger for one, should have some affection for his new leader on the bench. Granger remains a work in progress as the number one option and go-to-guy down the stretch for the Indiana Pacers.
But Saturday night, he came through when it counted most, sparking a 14-0 run that put the Pacers out front for good. For once, Granger knew it was time to make a move and did something about it. You could see it in his body language as his determined demeanor brought about a confidence that just kept growing as Granger made plays.
His shoulders were set just a little bit further back than usual, as he revealed a swagger he may have picked up from his coach Frank Vogel or the night before from Dahntay Jones. Regardless of the source of the killer mindset, I hope he keeps a supply of it handy for the rest of the season.
Granger may be feeling better about his game since it has also gone through an adjustment under Vogel. Just as the Pacers are playing more inside-out, Granger has altered his approach to attack the paint more, relying less on perimeter jumpers and has been able to produce in a much more efficient manner, as Ian points out.
In the eight games since the coaching change, Granger has averaged 20.4 points on just over 14 shots per game, while shoot 1.5 free throws for every 3-point attempt. I compared that to an 8-game stretch that started in late December when the Pacers went 3-5 with two of those wins coming against Cleveland and Washington. During that stretch when the season was officially going sideways, Granger averaged 22.3 points on a tick less than 20 shots per game with nearly a 1-to-1 free throw to 3-point attempt ratio.
With a more balanced offensive attack, less can truly be more for Granger as teams have found shutting down the Pacers' leading scorer isn't the way to beat the Pacers any more. Granger is shooting 45% from the floor in the past eight games, compared to 39% in that earlier stretch. In the past four games, he's shot 50% or better. When Granger can pick his spot and be more efficient without having to carry the offensive burden, it should free him up to be a better all-around player while still leading the offense.
Now let's see what he can do against LeBron tomorrow night. After the jump, catching up with the links from the past two days.
- Hoopdata Advanced Box Score - Indiana Pacers vs Milwaukee Bucks 2/12/2011
PACERS: Game Rewind: Pacers 103, Bucks 97
Game Rewind has highlights, analysis, quotes, notes and stats from the Pacers-Bucks game Saturday in Milwaukee.
Late 14-0 run lifts Pacers | The Indianapolis Star | indystar.com
Mike Wells reports on the Pacers strong close to beat the Bucks.
Hibbert gets best of Bucks' Bogut | The Indianapolis Star | indystar.com
Mike Wells reports on Roy Hibbert holding his own in Milwaukee and the Pacers hopes to sustain their current success.
- AP: Granger leads Pacers past Milwaukee 103-97
Bench time was tough on Jones
Mike Wells reports on Dahntay Jones surviving through many inactive games under Jim O'Brien to take advantage of an opportunity under Frank Vogel.
Bucks falter in fourth again, lose to Pacers - JSOnline
Charles F. Gardner reports on the Pacers putting Milwaukee away in the fourth quarter on Saturday night.
Pacers 103, Bucks 97: On pace for no playoffs - Brew Hoop
Alex Boeder has the other side of the story - The Bucks lose for the seventh time in eight games in a disheartening home loss to the Pacers, who strengthened their hold on the final playoff spot in the East.
NBA Sunday: What Paul George Means to the Future of the Pacers
Joel Brigham includes Paul George and his development among his Sunday notes.
Five Things To Like About Indiana Pacers Coach Frank Vogel - SB Nation Indiana
SB Nation Indiana's editor Brad Wells lists five things to like about Indiana Pacers interim-coach Frank Vogel.
Lots of Questions, But ‘7-1′ Is the Only Answer that Matters
Kent Sterling ponders all of the questions raised by the sudden change in fortunes for the Pacers after simply changing the coach.
Kings probing Cousins’ fight with Greene - NBA - Yahoo! Sports
Marc J. Spears has more on the strange story of DeMarcus Cousins struggling to deal with defeat in his rookie season.