INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – “If we lose, we’re out, that’s why we’re playing as hard as we can.” Those are the critical words from Pacers guard Lance Stephenson.
For the first time in Fieldhouse history, the Pacers will host a game seven, but after what this team has been through, just getting there is no guarantee. “My thing is,” says coach Frank Vogel, “Three of the last four times we’ve played these guys, they built a 20 point lead on us and beat us pretty good. So, I don’t think anyone in our organization is going to have any level of, okay we’re good, we’re at home. We know this team can beat us here, and we gotta be willing to come in and play at our best.”
The Hawks have won three of the last four times they’ve played on the Pacers court. Chemistry has come up as one of the reasons for the Pacers struggles, but Chris Copeland thinks that’s made them stronger. “Yeah, that’s the type team we’ve got,” said the first year shooter. “We got great guys that love each other, care about each other and I think that helps us out on the floor, we’re going to fight for each other tomorrow.”
The Pacers haven’t had back-to-back wins of any significance in nearly three months, and if that doesn’t change, the season will end right here against the Atlanta Hawks.
Paul George, who avoided a one game suspension for leaving the bench in an on-court altercation in game six, thinks his team should have the edge. “Now, it’s just about getting it done. We should be the one’s that are ready for this moment to play a game seven, a back to the wall kind of game. We’re a veteran group, an experienced group.”
So what’s the key to beating Atlanta and advancing? “The key hasn’t worked in the door for six games,”said George Hiill.”So we’ve just got to go out and play basketball, and don’t think about a game seven situation, or going home. We’ve just got to go out there, focus on the task at hand, one possession at a time, and play each possession like it’s our last one.”