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Thread: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

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    Default Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/i...on-team-022713
    INDIANAPOLIS

    The most dangerous threat to the Miami Heat’s chances for Eastern Conference domination is the relationship on display at a downtown hotspot full of gawking fans, two men talking without a hint of the rivalry so many predict. In the good-natured barbs, in the private and quiet moments of respect over the buzz of the bar, and in the ease of mentor and protégé sharing a night out on the town, the friendship between a blossoming superstar and his 29-year-old mentor says everything about why the Indiana Pacers have a better chance than anyone to beat the Miami Heat in a seven-game playoff series.


    Paul George, 22, has his Steelers hat on backward. His black Nike sweater with the hoodie. And his jokes about Danny Granger’s “old-man game.” Granger, his finger wrapped after having it drained at a hospital a few hours earlier, switches between marveling “wow!” as Stephen Curry goes off for 54 points on the big screen above them and boasting loud and confidently that he owns George in the Xbox matches that mark Pacers’ road games.

    “I dominate FIFA,” Granger boasts.

    “I’m by far the best on FIFA,” George says at the exact same moment.

    “I dominate!”

    They are talking over one another, at one another, laughing, so it’s hard to keep up with the smack talking. Suffice it to say it is intense, continuous and really funny.

    “A bunch of us play, there’s like four or five of us on the team who play,” Granger offers.

    “And I dominate most of the time,” George says.

    “I dominate,” Granger says.

    They go down the list: Who bests whom at FIFA, at Call of Duty, at the outdoor paintball course they head to in the offseason in the Los Angeles area, where they live and often hang out. These are friends, comfortable together and genuinely close, and so the mood seems so normal and down to earth it’s hard to remember you’re with two NBA stars every time a fan sheepishly approaches asking for a photo.

    It’s also why Granger’s return, far from the narrative being crafted that he and George cannot co-exist, is a boon to a team with a real chance at a postseason run.

    All season, quietly, the Pacers have played postseason-style basketball with the grinding, intense, team-first effort that makes them Miami’s greatest threat. They are the best defensive team in the league, they have the NBA’s second-best rebounding rate, they own the third-most blocks per game, and they play an intense and all-in style that has led to wins with gritty final scores like 82-81, 81-75, 80-76. It has also led them to a record that puts them second in the Eastern Conference.

    This has all happened without Granger, who returned two games ago – and has struggled with his shot, as he tends to early in seasons – after a nine-month hiatus from a knee tendon injury. Last season, Granger was the team’s leading scorer. Now he returns needing to fit into a world in which the younger George has assumed a leading role at the very position he plays.

    The two men are side by side, at a table with George’s brother and a few friends, but they get serious – and protective of the other – when the question of their supposed chemistry issues comes up.

    “Danny’s been like a big brother to me,” George says. “He’s really been a mentor to me. He’s been a big brother. Anything that I needed to learn or that I needed help with or getting adjusted to, Danny was there. So early on I felt like we had a brother relationship.”

    There’s no doubting that the two men, in many NBA locker rooms, would be rivals. Rivals for playing time, for the spotlight, for the leadership role, for the glory, for the next big contract or the ego-driven need the Lakers keep exhibiting to simply feel like The Man. But the Pacers are different. It’s why Roy Hibbert said Wednesday he’d pay Lance Stephenson’s $35,000 fine for being a good teammate and having his back during the Wednesday shoving match that got Hibbert and Golden State’s David Lee suspended. It’s why Indiana’s defense is so focused and intense. It’s why the Pacers rotate so well, why they buy in, why George feels a genuine ease with every guy on the roster, why Granger seems so comfortable with the idea of turning over his role to the others.

    These guys – led first and foremost by George and Granger – actually really like each other.

    “I think the biggest deal about it is the assumptions since I was coming back that there’d be a competition between us, when it’s actually the opposite,” Granger says. “The way he can break defenses down, the way he can create, I can just stand, catch and shoot, drive – it makes my job easier. He’s coming in at such a young age – he’s 22 now – I’m going to be 30 in a month and a half.

    “So I’m about to have a mid-life crisis,” Granger says. George laughs at him. “So I’m 30, you know, I have no problem – I’ve been in the league eight years – I have no problem passing the mantle to him, to leave the team to Roy and George.” Granger looks at George, right in the eye. “Those guys really, even David, those are the nucleus of this team. I’m getting older now, and the fact that we drafted Roy, then we drafted PG, I was drafted here, Lance Stephenson was drafted here, Tyler was drafted here. My whole team I watched get drafted. I’ve watched all of them grow. So I have no problem passing the mantle. At all.”

    This is a handover – no, a sharing of responsibility and opportunity and, yes, a sharing and passing on of glory – that began with Granger’s blessing two years ago, when George was a 19-year-old kid getting ready for the NBA draft.

    “We had gone through the draft and we were working out together,” Granger said. “It was the day of draft day, and – we have the same agent – I’d been working out with him for about a month. So I got about five calls from Larry Bird. Larry Bird never calls me. And he’s like, ‘Danny, I need you to call me back. Danny, I need you to call me back.’

    “Finally, I call him back, and he’s like, ‘Ah, what do you think of this kid Paul George?’

    “I’ve been working out with Paul.”

    “He’s like, ‘Yeah, tell me what you think.’’’

    Granger stops the story to laugh, loudly, and as he does he looks again at George, and George, almost embarrassed, looks down and laughs, too. He obviously has heard this story before, and the moment seems as far from Kobe-Dwight as you can possibly get in the NBA.

    “I say, ‘You better take him.’ That’s what I’m saying. ‘Dude, you gotta take him.’

    “Is he good?” Bird asked.

    “Dude. He’s really, really good.”

    “All right, that’s all I wanted to hear,” Bird said. “Bye.”

    “And that was it,” Granger says. “And later that night we selected him.”

    The green light Granger gave to bring in George two years ago has the Pacers now primed from a deep postseason run.


    “Honestly, I think we’re selling ourselves short if we don’t think we can win it all this year,” George says. “Across the whole board we have the whole makeup of a championship team. I think we’ve got the experience, we’ve got the size, we’ve got the shot-making ability, our defense is phenomenal. We play great team ball. Just everything just ties in together in terms of us having a shot at winning it all this year.”

    Granger helps that lofty goal. He’s a catch-and-shoot player who can benefit from George’s ability to create with a handle that’s stunning for a guy who’s 6-9. George’s size and defensive ferocity mean he can D-up on LeBron, but Granger, at 6-8, can also help. And Granger is a leader, a vet who commands respect from refs and other players, and another weapon for a Pacers team that while great needed the added layer of depth.

    None of this is to say the Pacers will beat the Heat. Miami is a force right now, playing so well – LeBron’s all-time greatness, Dwyane Wade’s continued excellence, Chris Bosh also great – they will be tough for anyone. For everyone.

    In fact, before Granger showed up at the bar, George and his friends had the can-LeBron-be-better-than-Jordan argument. It was far from decisive – some said yes, some said, no, George was respectful but non-committal of LeBron’s chances – but it was also clear that all of them know just how historically great LeBron James is playing, George included.

    In Granger, the Pacers have more than a scoring threat, or the team’s leading scorer from last season, or another physical body to throw at King James. They have a leader and friend who fits seamlessly into – and helped create – perhaps the most copasetic locker room in sports.

    “Sometimes on NBA teams you’ve got guys competing with each other,” Granger says. “That’s the thing about our team. We compete against the other team. Whoever’s scoring, whoever’s playing, whoever’s passing the ball, whoever’s doing whatever, we’re rooting for that person. I think Frank Vogel, he did a good job of instilling that in all of us. Play for your teammates.”

    After some more banter, Granger leaves, and everyone says their goodbyes. This is when the fans come, seeing an opening, asking George for photos, showing him pictures of their pets, telling him how much they appreciate him, rooting on him and his Pacers as they shyly walk away, stunned they’ve met him.

    But George, his star clearly rising, still has his mind on Granger. His friends are watching more of Curry’s magic, but George looks toward the door, to where Granger was a few minutes ago.

    “I think,” he says, almost to himself, “that the reason we’ve been the team we are is Danny. Whatever you call it, our franchise guy, he’s been so open. He’s been a really, really good guy.”

    And that’s the key: Granger’s return isn’t the threat of one star wanting to take back what’s his. It’s a friend returning to the fold, a guy who has known since he trained three years ago with George that this day would and should come.
    Really great read imo
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    Bobcat fans telling us to cheer up = epic fail season
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    Honorary Area 55'er TMJ31's Avatar
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    I love this team.
    Read my Pacers.com Guest Blog:
    "Area 55 Conquers Staples Center"

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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    Great find, thanks for posting

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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    I love these guys. My favorite team of all time. So happy I invested in season tickets this year.

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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    This is why I don't buy the argument that Danny will ruin whatever chemistry the Pacers have right now, and that Granger ang George can't co-exist. Danny never minds sharing the opportunities and the scoring load, even to George who can potentially replace him permanently at his position in a few years. He displayed it when Hill and West came last season. He showed it when Hibbert became a focal point of offense last season. He showed it when he came back. This is why I like Danny to be on this team. Throwing the ego aside (if he has any to begin with) for the betterment of the team. Supporting his juniors fully and showing no signs of selfishness. And his teammates love him.

    Paul George was here because of Danny Granger. This is the evidence. Regardless of how you value Granger as a player, remember that he helped the Pacers get a potential superstar that we fans have sought for all those trying years.

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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    I cannot describe how happy this article makes me
    Tonight, all flags must burn, in place of steeples.
    Autonomy must return into the hands of the people.

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    CJ Watson - 20 points on 6/10 shooting!

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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    I was prepared to fire off some witty banter about what a group of thugs and scum bags we have representing our franchise and that this had to be a puff piece written by Montieth & fed to foxsports.

    But after reading that I can't.

    I'm telling you that bench when Danny finally hit a shot against the Pistons was as real and honestly emotional as I've ever seen on a basketball court.

    Think about this for a min. & btw this isn't a slap at Derrick Rose but since Danny has been able to walk he has been with the team. Even when he wasn't able to practice or anything Danny was traveling with the team. Rose doesn't even always go to home games in Chicago.

    When Paul George had zero point vs. the Warriors who did he say was the first person to get to him at the locker room and pick him up? When David West was putting on a clinic in New Orleans who was on the bench doing the happy dance? When Gerald Green dropped the atomic dunk on the Cavaliers who jumped out of their second row seat almost catapulting Dan Burke?

    Danny Granger is the answer to all of the above.

    I can't help but think that this part of the article means more than just about anything else.

    "Those guys really, even David, those are the nucleus of this team. I’m getting older now, and the fact that we drafted Roy, then we drafted PG, I was drafted here, Lance Stephenson was drafted here, Tyler was drafted here. My whole team I watched get drafted. I’ve watched all of them grow. So I have no problem passing the mantle. At all.”


    Maybe that just means more to me than others, but yes I admit I love the fact that these are our players (other than Hill, West & Mahinmi).

    Can we please bury the hatchet between George fans and Granger fans? I love Danny Granger and this article did nothing for me other than elevate him more.

    But I understand his time is fading and it is now time for Paul George.

    I love Paul George as well and when Danny leaves Paul will become my favorite Pacer, but I'm conceding he is the best Pacer right now (well him & David West).

    So let's put away the who's team is it and who is important talk, it doesn't matter to the team and it shouldn't matter to us.

    We really are on the verge of having what I am about to consider to be the best Pacers team of the NBA, it's tough to go against a team that hit the finals but I'm telling you I honestly believe that this team now can get there.


    Basketball isn't played with computers, spreadsheets, and simulations. ChicagoJ 4/21/13

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    George Hill Apologist mattie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    This is a huge reason why I always thought it was ridiculous that Granger held anything against George. It would be impossible. Why? He worked out with him before the draft. I always assumed, (tho I never knew for sure) That Granger had a lot to do with PG's drafting. And as Granger and George played together three years ago, there's no way Granger didn't notice the obvious, PG was going to be a much better player than him.
    Find me on the internets @mattiecolin

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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    Hate to say I told you so to all those that thought Danny and Paul couldn't co-exist but.....


    In all seriousness though, this makes me love and appreciate Danny as well as our TEAM more than ever

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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    sounds like we should offer Granger a front office position once he retires

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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    One of the things that I thought was pretty awesome that was kind of thrown in as a "by the way" bit in there was the fact that Larry called Danny to ask him what he thought of Paul George. Obviously what Danny's opinion was carried an awful lot of weight cause we went ahead and drafted the guy that Granger talked up and said we should get. I think it really says a lot about Bird...being Larry Freaking Bird to be able to be as involved as he was with the team while still letting everyone do their job and also take into account others opinions. In retrospect I guess it's really not all that shocking I think that Bird always wanted to succeed and compete at a high level in the worst way but Larry was also very self-aware and he knew his limits, I think that's evidenced even back when he was coaching and surrounding himself with assistant coaches to help him out while he basically just weighed their opinions and got to call the shots. I'll tell ya one thing I bet you Jordan wouldn't be caught dead asking his players what they think about someone he was thinking about drafting.


    Very awesome read about Danny and Paul....It's already been said but I'll reiterate it...I love this team....and also...Thank you Larry!!! I swear if we get a ring this year Larry sure as hell better get one.

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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    Quote Originally Posted by Peck View Post
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    I'm telling you that bench when Danny finally hit a shot against the Pistons was as real and honestly emotional as I've ever seen on a basketball court.
    OK, I'm obviously in a posting flurry. I don't read more than I did before, but am obviously overlly exuberant, as evidenced by my posting rate. I will go hide under my rock again soon, I promise, and you can live without my lunatic ravings.

    Peck, I just love this statement. That was as emotional a moment as I have seen. Just pure, friendly joy among friends. Hell, Lance was one of the first to greet him, and he might be losing his job!

    Danny has been a class act since he got here, and was a big part of changing the culture. But Danny, Roy, David, Paul, George? Seriously??? We are honestly worried about egos here? Why??? Which one of those individuals wreaks anything but professionalism and class? They all have flaws....Roy can't finish and can't stay standing unless being attacked by pipsqueaks; Geoge Hill is a mediocre passer; Danny just sucks so far in his two games back; Paul needs to quit trying to pass at all, because he sucks at it, and is a turnover machine; David is....well, awesome.

    I don't care if you can get Eric Gordon or Lemarcus Aldridge or Blake Griffin or Even Chris Paul for these gusy. They are a TEAM. Now is the time to ride it out and see what they will do. INDIANA BASKETBALL. That's it! Maybe at the deadline you try to trade Gerald Green for cap space to sign West, as they probably did. But Green's dunks are entertaining and fun, so what the hell. My team is on the floor!

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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    Now that is unselfishness. Still a great player, he sets his ego aside for the better of the team. That adds to his legacy folks. Big time.
    LeWade are going down.

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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    This article got me right in the feels
    "I've got an idea--an idea so smart that my head would explode if I even began to know what I'm talking about." - Peter Griffin

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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    Wait, Danny had his finger drained?

    No seriously, great article, this is what this team is alla about. And I love it.

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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    Thanks god he was not working out with Gordon Hayward or Cole Aldrich.

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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    Reading that..... it almost made cry... tears of joy... the kind of tears when encountering something truly awe-inspiring... just wow..

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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    And this is why if you arent going to games and/or supporting this team then who needs you. If you cant get behind this team then something is wrong with YOU. Because you will never find a better team to get behind than this one. And thats why the players even ask, where are the fans. This is a special group. And of all the fans in the world, with all we have been through we should be able to appreciate it that much more. Larry Bird built something very, very special. And he is one smart cookie.

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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    Wow. Great article. This is clearly one of the reasons why I've been loving this team and why I was not for trading Danny in the first place. His loyalty and dedication to this team cannot be replaced. It may not have contributed to winning sooner than we wanted but it sure helped a lot in changing the culture and camaraderie of our players. That's something that clearly helps a team be contenders for years to come. And knowing this is a truly cohesive unit who got each others back, makes them more fun to watch.

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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    This team is phenomenal. Seriously.

    Honest question. What would it take to get #33 in the rafters? How much more would he have to do? What if we were to win it all this year?

    I'm not advocating for this, just curious what other people think.
    Last edited by BPump33; 02-28-2013 at 09:06 AM.
    Passion. Pride. Patience. Pacers

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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    Dawwww I love this team so much :'D
    I REALLY hope we keep most of these guys together for a loooooooooooong time!!!!!!!
    follow me @KeifDye - lets talk Pacers!

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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    I'm scaring myself, I'm starting believe they have a legit shot. I couldn't be more proud of this team. The only regret I have is that Larry isn't around to enjoy this directly.

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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    Quote Originally Posted by BPump33 View Post
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    This team is phenomenal. Seriously.

    Honest question. What would it take to get #33 in the rafters? How much more would he have to do? What if we were to win it all this year?

    I'm not advocating for this, just curious what other people think.
    A championship. Seriously, a championship changes everything.

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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    Quote Originally Posted by TMJ31 View Post
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    I love this team.
    Me too! I can't remember the last time I said that. Maybe 2000.

    This team is as tight and united as the 2008 Celtics squad that won the championship. They defend like that team too.
    Quote Originally Posted by vnzla81
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    Larry is not coming back, he didn't have a meeting with Orlando for not reason, yeah he is coming back to the NBA but not to the Pacers, the notion that he is a taking a year off and then come back is absurd.
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    GOOD GOD THAT'S LARRY BIRD'S MUSIC!

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    Default Re: Danny Granger and Paul George have unique bond that makes Pacers real threat in East (Article about Granger/George)

    Quote Originally Posted by BPump33 View Post
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    This team is phenomenal. Seriously.

    Honest question. What would it take to get #33 in the rafters? How much more would he have to do? What if we were to win it all this year?

    I'm not advocating for this, just curious what other people think.
    If this current teams its first ever NBA championship, the whole team will get their names up in the rafters.

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