The Pacers came raging back to defeat the Knicks on Tuesday night after trailing by 15 to start the fourth quarter, yet, thanks to Danny Granger, that’s not what must be taken away from this game.
Indiana outscored New York 40-17 in a quarter where everything went right for the Pacers and everything went wrong for the Knicks.
Subsequently, you should be talking about how embarrassing of a loss this was for New York, how impressive a comeback this was for Indiana and how this rivalry is clearly approaching levels of animosity you haven’t seen since the days of Reggie Miller.
But, here you are, taking precious time out of your busy schedule to talk about the horrific judgment of one, Danny Granger. And yes, I’m referring to the Steve Novak imitation in which the Pacers’ small forward felt it necessary to do the “discount double-check” after nailing a three late in the fourth quarter.
The problem with what Granger did is not that he was jacked up after hitting a huge shot. His overall reaction—screaming, chest pounding—was acceptable. His team was in the middle of one of the most impressive comebacks of the compressed NBA season, and showing emotion was not only warranted, but fantastic.
Just not in that fashion.
By imitating Novak, Granger was taunting one of the biggest feel-good stories of the year. He was insulting a guy who is from Wisconsin and has not only a birthright to this particular celebration, but the blessing of the guy who made it famous in Aaron Rodgers.
Let’s not split hairs here. Malice may not have been intended, but Granger wasn’t participating in good-natured ribbing either. He was pissed that the Knicks swept a home-and-home against the Pacers in March, and he was pissed that such a display came shortly after he declared the two contests against New York “winnable games.”
Granger’s version of the “discount double-check” was the result of a grudge he has held for nearly month. It was his attempt to bury the Knicks—which he eventually did—and his way of rubbing their collapse in the face of everyone on the team.
And that’s not okay.
A certain amount of taunting is acceptable, and malicious imitation can even be justified in certain situations, but this was not one of them.
Novak is a classy guy. He’s a player who knows his role and embraces it, a player who operates on sheer energy and a player who should have been in the game when Granger delivered the dagger. Under no circumstance, though, is he a player to be chastised in that manner.
Had it been a perpetual Carmelo Anthony-like grin that Granger was imitating, that’s a different story. But taunting and insulting a player who has overcome so many obstacles, emerged as one of the most clutch shooters in the game and doesn’t have a shred of malicious intent in his repertoire? Come on now.
With this unwarranted gesture, Granger shed light on the pompousness he has so adeptly suppressed almost his entire career.
Since the lockout, Granger was recognized as a player with morals and a man who exuded generosity. This was the guy who hosted dinner for the Pacers workers affected by the lockout.
Now, though, he’s the guy that resorted to immaturity to express his enthusiasm.
This isn’t about Granger leading Indiana to an impressive come from behind victory over New York. And this isn’t about him letting loose after he hit a monstrous shot.
This is about a superstar making a terrible and revealing decision. He tainted this victory and made a mockery of himself, and the entire Pacers team. Most importantly, though, he offered an unnecessary gesture to a guy he can only hope he is one day half as humble as.
So, congratulations Danny Granger, you’re still an All-Star caliber player.
But you’re also a jackass.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His basketball musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.