After winning Game 4 in Indiana, Pacers coach Frank Vogel, in what seemed to be a sarcastic tone, denied the high amount of Bulls fans present in Conseco Fieldhouse. If you watched on TV, it was clear that most of the crowd -- lower bowl, at least -- was in red to support the 'See Red' campaign.
That wasn't the only ridiculous statement he made, though.
"I think we deserve to be in the series," Vogel said after Game 4. "I'm still upset that
it's 1-3. We should be up in the series."
The Pacers would be ahead in this series ... if they had a closer, and a man named Derrick Rose.
Tuesday, before the Pacers and Bulls face off for Game 5, Vogel made an even bolder statement.
"We feel like if we win tonight, we'll win this series," Vogel told
reporters after the Tuesday morning shootaround.
Give Vogel this: He certainly has confidence in his team. However, to be making statements like that, hours before you face the Eastern Conference's best team in the regular season, could be foolish. It would be for any other team and coach, but the Pacers have embraced this tough-minded, cocky attitude.
It started from the beginning when Danny Granger, who's averaging 22 points in the postseason, claimed the Bulls could be beaten as long as the Pacers made a concerted effort in stopping Rose. Then, the Pacers set the tone early, starting from Game 1, knocking Rose down repeatedly and sending physical messages throughout the series.
Vogel has maintained confidence throughout the series and his team has, as well. The Bulls were given bulletin board material from the get go, but as Tom Thibodeau said, if you can't motivate yourself come playoff time, then this isn't the right sport for you.
The Pacers have played rough basketball with the Bulls, but besides a couple plays -- Jeff Foster's elbow to Luol Deng's head in Game 3; Josh McRoberts attempting to elbow Rose in the face in Game 4 -- the Pacers have played with appropriate playoff physicality.
Can the Pacers win Game 5? It's highly unlikely: The Bulls are 38-5 at home and went 16-4 in the regular season coming off a loss.
But if the Pacers manage to somehow win Game 5, which would be a miraculous upset, sure, they have a shot at beating the Bulls. That would be consecutive wins for the Pacers and they could make it three if they win in Game 6 in Indiana.
Vogel is coaching for his job right now -- his confident mantra is entertaining and provides some laughs, but he's doing everything he can to show upper management that he's the man for the job.
Rose ready to go: Rose will play in Game 5 after spraining his left ankle late in the first quarter of Game 4, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune -- news that should not come as a surprise to Bulls fans.
"It's good," Rose said. "I gotta get treatment and then I'm out there.
(Monday), it was a little stiff. Today, I got more more motion in it."
It'll be very interesting to see how Rose will move around in Game 5. He clearly wasn't his usual explosive self on Saturday, but he put that more on his non-aggressiveness than the injury.
Rose has been as durable as they come, as he's only missed five games in his first three seasons in the NBA.
The Bulls, playing behind the United Center crowd, should win Game 5. They've got to for several reasons, but the main one is to give Rose some rest heading into the second round.
"That's the biggest thing, getting rest," Rose said. "We could
definitely use it."
Win Game 5, and it's all yours.