Danny Granger Agrees With Larry Bird’s ‘S-O-F-T’ Label for the Pacers

After getting called out in the media by team president Larry Bird following a humiliating defeat in Game 5 last night, the Indiana Pacers agreed with Bird’s characterization of their play. LeBron and company, however, didn’t quite see things the same way. From the AP: “I agree with his assessment. We did play soft,’ Indiana’s Danny Granger said Wednesday. ‘We got smacked around. We got beat up, we got bullied, and we really didn’t respond well. I’ve been with Larry since I’ve been in Indiana for seven years,’ Granger added. ‘He’s not been one to hold his tongue, and 99 percent of the time what he’s saying is right. I think he just called out what everyone else saw. We played a soft game. We didn’t play with the playoff intensity that we needed to win.’ Granger was in flip-flops when Wednesday’s practice ended, saying the left ankle he sprained in Game 5 was still painful. [Lance] Stephenson, who had X-rays taken to rule out any fractures to his collarbone or shoulder areas, did not practice. ‘In my mind, I’m going to play,’ Granger said. ‘Elimination game, I have to play.’ […] The Heat had a different reaction to Bird’s comments. With the Pacers facing a win-or-else game Thursday, LeBron James thought Bird — recently announced as the league’s executive of the year — wanted to provide extra incentive for Indiana. ‘He’s just trying to amp them up. That’s all. That’s all it is,’ James said. ‘He knows his team isn’t soft. But with them, with their backs against the wall at this point, he knows what he’s doing. He’s not the executive of the year for no reason.’”