A little late but better late than never.
Danny Granger went off yesterday against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second half to score a season-high 36 points, and Darren Collison thoroughly outplayed Ricky Rubio with 20 points, 9 assists and 6 boards as the Pacers cruised to a 109-99 victory and improved to 15-6 on the season.
Granger was already having a solid third quarter when, with a couple of minutes to spare, Kevin Love lost his footing and grabbed Granger's shoulder/neck area on his way down after fighting for a loose ball. Granger, with his back turned to Love, thought it was a deliberate "clothesline" and got right back into Love's face, causing players from both sides to jump in and Frank Vogel to run into the fracas to pull Granger away. The misunderstanding earned Granger a technical but it also got him mad as he and the Pacers started clicking offensively to put the Wolves away for a rather comfortable victory in the end.
After the game, the scuffle caused headlines when Kevin Love declared that he "don't like the Pacers" and laughed at the team for trying to be a bunch of "tough guys". The Pacers seem to be getting under a lot of skin lately, as you will recall the "never forget" words from Derrick Rose only a few days ago. Some fans like it, others don't. I'm just glad the Pacers won both of the games, on the road too, mind you.
Roy Hibbert later tweeted: "Great win tonight. Lesson to the league don't get [Granger] mad. Y'all been warned!!!"
Granger, who said he considers his Team USA teammate Love a friend, responded to Love's comments with the following tweet: "We don’t act tough, we just play hard. If we have to be tough then we will be…"
In other news, still no news on George Hill's ankle, though one would think a chip fracture would be at least a month or more, though Hill apparently speculated that he'd be out for only three weeks. Let's hope so because the Pacers suddenly look a lot thinner with Foster out for long stretches and now Hill. Not to say Amundson, Pendergraph, AJ Price and Lance Stephenson can't step up, but it is starting to become a concern.
Which brings me to the next piece of news -- that the Pacers are supposedly the frontrunners to land big man Chris Kaman, who has been told by the New Orleans Hornets (who acquired him in the Chris Paul trade) that he can stay home (ala Tinsley) until they figure out what to do with him. The Pacers are apparently the only team with enough cap space to take him and his $14m contract on without losing much (if anything) in return. The only thing is that Kaman is in the last year of his contract so he will likely be a short term rental for the rest of the season.
With Foster being semi-unreliable because of health problems and the "Awkward Brigade" of Hansbrough, Amundson and Pendergraph being slightly undersized and each having obvious flaws, it's actually not a bad idea for the Pacers to rent Kaman for a little while -- provided they don't give me too much in return. The question really is what the Hornets are willing to give him away for. Remember, Tinsley virtually zero value too, but the Pacers held onto him until the very end.
Apart from looking like a drug addict (which would go well with Psycho-T's serial killer and Amundson's porn star), the 7-foot Kaman actually has some skills (he averaged a career high 18.5 points just a couple of seasons ago) and would easily be the answer to question of Roy Hibbert's back-up.
Let's wait and see if there is any truth to these rumors.
Next up, the Pacers head back on the road AGAIN to face the defending champs, the Dallas Mavericks, before heading home to play the Magic (again) and the Utah Jazz. Looking ahead, it's then @Atlanta, @Memphis, Denver, Miami. Another tough, tough stretch for the Pacers.