Because what the Pacers really want to do is give the Bulls some real motivation, we give you Pacers coach Frank Vogel, speaking at Tuesday’s shootaround (as quoted by several members of the media):
“We feel like if we win this game tonight, we’ll win the series.”
It sounds like he took the brown acid against the announcer’s advice, but I suppose you want your coach to feel that way. Confident, not tripping. You want him to think his team has a real chance. To say it out loud is another thing entirely.
Vogel is optimistic and a bit brash. Which is good. He got more out of these Pacers since taking over than Jim O’Brien did in a couple years, and in the playoffs they have defended well and tested the Bulls. They have played the role of plucky underdogs well.
Tuesday night their season is going to end. It was going to before Vogel said this to the media, it doesn’t really change anything. At the end of the day they have played hard and the Bulls have yet to play their best. That is about to change.
But when Larry Bird sits down to think about who should coach the Pacers next season, Vogel should get a long, hard look.