INDIANAPOLIS -- The overwhelming buzz Saturday afternoon didn't involve a celebrity sighting or pregame stunt. It was the red sea that filled Conseco Fieldhouse.
Without a doubt, Bulls fans occupied the majority of the building. In the section directly behind the visitors' bench, the ratio of Bulls fans to Pacers supporters was conservatively 100-1. Chicago fans also dominated the upper deck.
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There probably haven't been many instances in sports history where a team playing at home tried to take the crowd out of the game, but the Pacers ultimately succeeded.
"Every time we went into the huddle, we said, 'We have to shut the Bulls fans up,'" Indiana forward Danny Granger said.
By winning Saturday, the Pacers sent the series back to the United Center for Game 5 on Tuesday. The Bulls appreciated how well their fans traveled.
"The love for the Chicago Bulls is crazy right now," Joakim Noah said. "We love it and we're excited to go home. We realize it's on us to put in the work and make them happy."
"In most places that we go, they're either chanting 'Go Bulls' or 'MVP,'" Carlos Boozer added. "For us, it's been more normal than abnormal."
Derrick Rose used the occasion to pay homage to the championship teams with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. They made the Bulls one of the world's most widely-recognized sports franchises.
"It's not us, it's the people before us like Pip and Michael who laid down the foundation for us," Rose said. "The fan base is unbelievable."
Luol Deng, who has ties to England, Egypt and Sudan, has noticed the team's worldwide appeal.
"Every game we lose we feel we let people down," Deng said. "I hear from people from countries I haven't heard of who are Bulls fans."