From Comcast SportsNetINDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Indiana needs to find a long-term replacement for Danny Granger.Team officials announced Wednesday that the one-time All-Star forward is expected to miss up to three months after receiving an injection in his left knee to treat patellar tendinosis.Losing Granger for an extended period is a big blow for a team that entered this season hoping to contend for an Eastern Conference title. He was the Pacers' top scorer last season (18.7 points) and is typically their first option in late-game situations, too.All the Pacers can do now is move on."We still have a heck of a team," coach Frank Vogel said before Saturday night's home opener. "We've still got a great deal of talent, a great deal of depth. So my hopes are very high that we'll excel without Danny."Granger originally hurt the knee during May's playoff run. Vogel said the soreness dissipated for a while, then returned while Granger was working out during the offseason.In September, Granger said he underwent blood-platelet treatment, which he described as a painful experience that could take months to fully heal."It hurts," Granger said in mid-October. "They take the blood out and inject it back in, so it hurts. But it helps you heal tremendously."Apparently, Granger hasn't reaped those benefits yet. He has not played in any of Indiana's first four regular season games, though he did make one preseason appearance. At Cleveland, on Oct. 23, Granger scored nine points in 13 minutes.Without him, things haven't always gone smoothly.The Pacers (2-2) are averaging 20.3 turnovers a game, a number Vogel has already acknowledged needs to be cut significantly.Vogel is also trying to figure out lineups and rotations without Granger. Gerald Green, signed as a free agent in the offseason, started the first three games. He's scoring 9.8 points and grabbing 4.3 rebounds, but giving up 2.5 turnovers per game. On Monday night at San Antonio, Sam Young moved into the starting lineup and finished with three points and three rebounds in a 101-79 loss.Granger's absence has been more notable in the closing moments of games.Indiana looked out of sync in the final minute last Friday at Charlotte and couldn't take advantage of several chances to win at lowly Charlotte. Instead, they wound up losing 90-89 -- the Bobcats' first win in 24 games. The next night, against Sacramento, Indiana missed two shots at the end of regulation and two more at the end of the first overtime before finally getting past Sacramento 106-98 in double overtime.Even opponents have noticed a difference."Maybe if you have him (Granger) he closes that (Charlotte) game out," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "Not having your go-to guy can change a lot of things."But instead of building this team around a superstar, the Pacers decided to reinforce their bench. They're hoping that will take them go deeper into the playoffs than last season's second-round exit against Miami.That decision could serve them well now.David West, Paul George and George Hill are all scoring in double figures. All-Star center Roy Hibbert is averaging 8.8 points 7.8 rebounds and 3.3 blocks. And Tyler Hansbrough and Lance Stephenson have given the Pacers good minutes off the bench.So Vogel remains optimistic.Granger has averaged 18.2 points and 5.2 rebounds in seven NBA seasons.
When the Warriors set foot in FedEx Forum on Saturday, they’ll find a very different atmosphere as well as a barely recognizable team of Memphis Grizzlies.
The Grindhouse is not the same. Zach Randolph and Vince Carter have left the building. So, too, has the “Grindfather” himself, Tony Allen.
So in their only trip to Memphis this season, the Warriors will focus mostly on point guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol, the remaining core members of the team that reached the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons.
The Warriors (1-1) will be playing for the second night in a row, while the Grizzlies (1-0) have not played since their season opener Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.
Warriors by 8.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Stephen Curry vs. Mike Conley: Curry has a long memory, and he will remember not only that the Warriors last season lost twice to the Grizzlies but also that Conley’s 27 points and clutch play offset Curry’s 40 points and led Memphis to an overtime win in Oakland. It won’t matter to Curry that the Warriors posted double-digit wins over the Grizzlies in the last two meetings last season. He may want to take over.
Warriors: F Omri Casspi (L ankle sprain) is listed as questionable.
Grizzlies: F JaMychal Green (L ankle sprain), G Ben McLemore (R foot surgery) and G/F Wayne Selden Jr. (R quad injury) are listed as out.
RECENT SERIES HISTORY:
The Warriors have won five of the last seven in Memphis and 10 of the last 13 meetings overall.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
BREEZE OR WHEEZE: Coach Steve Kerr has expressed some concern about the team’s conditioning level. On the second night of their first back-to-back set -- with the Warriors arriving at the hotel at 2:30 a.m. -- it could provide a glimpse of their progress. Kerr said he would consider resting one or two players. Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, both coming off injuries, would seem logical candidates.
GEORGIA VS. SPAIN: The Republic of Georgia’s Zaza Pachulia and Spain’s Marc Gasol know each other well, having spent years battling internationally and in the NBA. There will be no surprises, but Pachulia will have to avoid foul trouble to remain a part of his team’s defensive rotation against one of the league’s best big men.
HOT KLAY: Klay Thompson is off to a torrid start, shooting 11-of-18 from beyond the arc through the first two games. And now he won’t have to worry about Allen, who relished in opportunities to defend the Warriors All-Star. Memphis replaced Allen with Andrew Harrison, who is not in the Grindfather’s class as a defender.
With a win over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night, the Sacramento Kings are feeling good heading into their first back-to-back on Saturday. They’ll face a Denver Nuggets team that lost their season opener to the Utah Jazz and is looking for their first victory of the season.
The combination of George Hill and De’Aaron Fox at the point guard position was too much for Dallas to handle on Friday. Hill poured in 21 points, including two huge shots down the stretch and Fox came away with his first 10-assist game of his career.
Denver added veteran Paul Millsap in the offseason to match with rising star Nikola Jokic. Jokic struggled in the opener, but still managed to post seven points, eight assists and 12 rebounds. The Kings will have their hands full trying to slow the 7-footer.
Nuggets by 11
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Nikola Jokic -- Cauley-Stein has posted back-to-back double-doubles to start the season and comes in averaging 15.5 points, 10.5 rebound and two blocks in 29 minutes per game. Jokic is one of the more versatile bigs in the game. He picks and chooses his spots to score, but his passing ability makes him a dangerous player.
WHERE THEY STAND:
Kings: SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (right ankle sprain) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out
Nuggets: No injuries to report
These two teams split the season series last year and hold an identical 86-86 record against each other all-time. The Kings lead the Nuggets 65-63 during the Sacramento-era.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
MORE TIME FOR FOX - The Kings speedy young guard is showing that he’s ready to carry more of the load. In his first game, he posted 14 points and five assists. In Game Two, he set up his teammates for a team-high 10 assists while adding nine points and six rebounds. He’s averaged 25 minutes a game in the first two, but his play is already commanding more.
GIVING BUDDY SOME LOVE - Lost in the shuffle of the team’s first win was an nice all-around performance from Buddy Hield. The second-year guard was one of eight Kings to grab five rebounds or more against the Mavs, but Hield’s late board in traffic was probably the play of the night. If he can post more 13 point, six rebound, three assist games early in the season, he’ll find himself on the court more often than not.
MORE FROM SKAL NEEDED - Skal Labissiere has all the potential in the world, but he’s off to a quiet start through two contests. He needs to be more aggressive calling for the ball and continue to hit the glass hard. He’s averaging 10 points and 7.5 rebounds in 23 minutes per game, but one of those came with Zach Randolph on the shelf. He’ll need to earn minutes like everyone else on this team.
“My coach has that much confidence in me, a 19-year-old kid to stay on the floor in crunch time, and when he has that confidence in me, my confidence goes up that much more.” -De’Aaron Fox on coach Dave Joerger sticking with him down the stretch in the Kings’ first win.