With this series now all but over, here’s what some of the participants are saying.
“It’s very tough. We come back home thinking that would make a difference, but it’s the same story as the first two games,” Pacers backup point guard A.J. Price said. “We outplay them or play even with them for the first three quarters, and then they make more plays in the fourth quarter and win the game.”
“When it comes down to it, they have an advantage with Derrick Rose as a closer and we have five guys where everybody has to get it done,” Pacers swingman Mike Dunleavy said. “You can’t have hesitation out there. They change their defense and guys are open. The guy has to get the ball. I know it’s a cliche, but we’re not executing down the stretch. We’re just not.”
“It’s indicative of a young, inexperienced team,” said Granger, who had 21 points. “When the game is on the line, we don’t execute the way we should. We took some bad shots. We missed some guys who were open when we had a chance to take the lead. It’s plays like that (that) cause us to lose the game.”
As Mike Dunleavy said after Thursday night’s 88-84 Game 3 loss, “It’s been Groundhog Day.”
“We’re taking good, big steps, but to take that next one, we’ve got to have a low-post threat we can go to on a consistent basis,” [Dahntay] Jones said. “Not someone who makes plays on good nights, not occasionally, but a lot more than occasionally. I think we have guys who are capable, but they’re still growing into their roles.”
“He’s so fast, I just went in there and ended up hitting him,” said Foster, a 12-year veteran. “He reacted. It’s the playoffs. I’m sure he’s going to get hit plenty of times.”
Rose called the foul “a little irritating” but took the play in stride. “That’s his job,” Rose said. “But you have to stand up to it. I was just trying to go to the basket and create contact.”
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau respects the way Foster plays.
“This is the playoffs. There are going to be hard fouls,” Thibodeau said. “In my eyes, that’s what they’ve been doing the whole series. They’re fouling hard. That’s part of the game. When it crosses over the line, I think the officials will make the call.
“I have a lot of respect for Foster. He’s a hard playing guy, a tough guy. He’s been a good player in this league for a long time.”
“We’re really frustrated right now,” Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough said. “I know I’m frustrated. We now have to work to stay in this series and win our game here at home.”