Larry Bird Talks Pacers Playoffs
April 14, 2011 - Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird met with Pacers.com and local media to discuss the upcoming 2011 NBA Playoffs. During the informal Q&A, Larry spoke about the Pacers' upcoming first round match-up with the Chicago Bulls, the way the Pacers finished the regular season, and Derrick Rose as an MVP candidate, among other topics. The full video is posted above and the transcript of the conversation is transcribed below.
On Coach Vogel:
"Obviously, we are very happy with where we are at and the job he has done. The decision will be made after the season."
On the match-up with the Chicago Bulls:
"Well, we are awfully young. They (Chicago Bulls) have one of the best players (Derrick Rose) in the league. They are one of the hottest teams. This is a great experience for our young guys. I can remember back in the early 80s in my first playoff series, I knew when it was over that I had a lot of work to do if I wanted to win a championship. This is a great opportunity for these young guys to get some experience and we will see what happens."
On how the Pacers finished the 2010-11 NBA regular season:
"We played some good basketball at the end. Unfortunately, we lost a couple games when we had the lead. You hate to blame it on the young guys being young. There's a learning curve here. We have seen progress. Obviously, we would like to see it come along a little quicker. I'm pretty pleased with the way these guys have hung in there throughout the year. We had a lot of ups and downs, but it seemed like at the end of the year they put together and made a nice run."
On why playoff experience is so important:
"Cause it is completely different than the regular season. The intensity level. The fans in the building. Usually, the best 16 teams make the playoffs. We feel like in the east we are one of the top 8 teams. We have a lot of work to do. There is no question about that."
On Derrick Rose as an MVP candidate:
"I'm a big Kobe (Bryant) fan. LeBron James is a player that the closest I can get to him is George McGinnis when he was younger. Rose has seemed to take his game to another level in a short period of time. I knew he was a very talented player, but I didn't know he was going to be this good. He's awfully good. He is quick. He is strong. He is powerful. And he is starting to make his jump shot, which makes him almost impossible to guard.
On who Larry would select for this year's MVP:
"One of them three (Bryant, James or Rose). I think they are the three best players in our league. Dwight Howard is in that group. You probably have to give it to him (Rose). They have done an excellent job. They made coaching changes. They brought in players. The chemistry is good. They are winning, and he is the leader, so obviously you have to look at him."
On whether the Pacers know what they're getting into with the playoffs: "Absolutely not. They will find out shortly."
Do you have to be more physical?
We have to be the instigators and not the retaliators. That's going to be hard to do with the young guys. This is going to be a great experience for us and I think we will grow from it.
Playoff tickets for the NBA First Round match-up between the Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls are available by clicking here. The 2011 Pacers Playoffs are proudly presented by Indiana University Health, Kroger, Stanley Security Solutions and XFINITY®.