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Vogel Wants Granger to Use Pierce as Model

by Conrad Brunner || Caught in the Web Archive

March 28, 2011

( Getty Images)

When Danny Granger takes the floor tonight, he needs to not just match up with Paul Pierce, he must learn from his opponent.

At least that's how interim coach Frank Vogel is approaching it. He believes Granger should use Pierce's career as a model.

"I've actually talked to him about Paul Pierce for years, since I've been here," Vogel said. "I think he has a lot of similarities with Paul from the standpoint of at least defensively being able to shut down whoever he wants to with the game on the line.

"When he puts his mind to it he can be a shut-down defender. And again, just going from being a real volume shooter to playing within the team concept."

Pierce, of course, has transformed from a prolific scorer to a pure team player since Boston brought in Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to form the big three. His scoring average has dropped, his emphasis on defense has improved and the Celtics, who made the playoffs just four times in Pierce's first nine seasons have reached the NBA Finals twice in the past three, winning the title in 2008.

The Pacers quite obviously don't have a Garnett or Allen to complement Granger but that doesn't change Vogel's basic message.

He pointed out the Dec. 19 meeting with the Celtics in which Pierce had a trouble-double of 18 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds while attempting just eight shots. Granger, on the other hand, shot 5-of-20 and scored 19 points and the Pacers lost 99-88.

Vogel said he told Granger, "This is where you need to grow your game, to be an efficient offensive weapon."

Granger has had a difficult month, averaging just 18.9 points on 36.9 percent shooting in 15 games, as he has tried to adapt to Vogel's less-can-be-more approach.

"It's just trying to settle into a new style and new system," Granger said. "As expected, some ups and downs but I think we're going to hit our stride, I'm going to be hitting my stride when I need to."

The team needs its best player in stride full-time.