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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.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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