INDIANAPOLIS -- The Pacers may be facing an 0-3 deficit in their first-round series against the Bulls. But Indiana coach Frank Vogel has pushed his team to play at maximum effort and he's not ready to throw in the towel.
"We recognize that it's never been done, a team coming back in the NBA from being down 3-0, but my message to our guys is it will happen some day," Vogel said Friday at Conseco Fieldhouse. "Some day, there will be a team in the NBA that comes back from a 3-0 deficit, so why not us?
"We're playing this team toe-to-toe, eye-to-eye. I've never been around a team that is playing any scrappier than our team has played right now. We're becoming the relentless underdog I knew this team could become. We've struggled to close out games. It's going to happen at some point. Why not us?"
Why not the Pacers? Well, that should be obvious. They've played the Bulls tough in all three games of this series but don't have anyone who can make big plays down the stretch like Derrick Rose.
Rose hit just 4 of 18 shots in Game 3 and still managed to finish a game-winning driving lay-in with 17.8 seconds left.
"They know how well they're playing," Vogel said of his players. "We read the stats off. Derrick Rose 4-for-18, 5 turnovers. We're holding that team to 40 percent shooting over three games. We held them to 16 points in the paint (in Game 3). We took care of the glass like we knew we needed to do.
"They have a great defensive coach that had two days off to make some adjustments that stifled our offense a little bit. We'll make some adjustments. We'll come back. We'll respond. We're a confident bunch."
Indiana center Roy Hibbert complained about not getting the ball in the low post often enough after Thursday's game. Since scoring 8 points in the first quarter Game 1, Hibbert has hit a combined 7 of 21 shots for 17 points.
"It's very hard to execute plays when the other team knows your first three options," Hibbert said Friday. "We've just got to be able to score under pressure late in a game. Even though we've been losing these games, I really feel proud of my team for coming together and playing hard."
Foster fouls flagrant:
The Pacers received some inconsequential punishment for their rough play Friday when the league office upgraded two fouls by center Jeff Foster to grade I flagrant. He will not be suspended for Game 4, even though two flagrant fouls in one game would result in an ejection.
Foster hit Rose across the face on a drive in the third quarter and later smacked Luol Deng in the head with an elbow.