LeBron James calls out Danny Granger for on-court antics, calls them ‘stupid’
Forward Danny Granger has been assessed a technical foul in each of the last three games in the Eastern Conference Semifinal series between the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat, and his confrontational behavior has apparently risen to such a level and developed into somewhat of a distraction that Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have taken notice and have even addressed it with the media.
Via the Indy Star:
“Whatever he’s trying, it is not working,” James said. “He’s said he’s not scared of LeBron, ‘I want to let (James) know.’ I guess he’s doing it for his own psyche. It’s stupid.”
James was assessed a technical as well for a dust-up between the players during Game 2 — a game Indiana ultimately won — so one could argue that Granger’s getting under LeBron’s skin and his antics are working to some degree.
“I’m all for standing up for your guys but certain things you just can’t keep doing,” Wade said. “My message to Granger was that you just can’t keep running up into people’s faces for altercations. We’re not fighting on this basketball court so let’s not act like we’re going to fight. We can be physical and do all that but certain things got to stop. Are you out here to play basketball or are you out here to be a tough guy?”
A fight doesn’t necessarily need to occur for a player to impose his will upon and intimidate an opponent. And a player can simultaneously be a tough guy and play basketball, right? One could argue that the lack of a tough guy mentality on behalf of both James and Wade are exactly why the Heat are tied with the Pacers at two games apiece in the first place.
Whether prompted by reporters’ questions or addressing it on their own, the respective comments by James and Wade indicate Granger and his on-court antics have at the very least got into the Heat players’ heads, something I imagine Granger will attempt to exploit in coming games. Further, he has no plans of altering his style of play, especially when he feels he’s coming to the defense of his teammates, something he claims to have been doing on at least one occasion he was hit with a technical:
“Maybe it was an overreaction, maybe it wasn’t,” Granger said. “But in the heat of the moment, I’ll run to the defense of my teammates.”
Whether Granger feels the need to protect his teammates or refuses to back down in the face of LeBron, D-Wade and company, one thing is for certain: Game 5 on Tuesday night should be a real doozy.