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Price Ready For Whatever Role Awaits

by Conrad Brunner || Caught in the Web Archive

April 21, 2011

Darren Collison can't imagine a scenario in which he wouldn't at least try to play tonight.

The Pacers, however, are preparing as if A.J. Price will start at the point in Game 3 against the Chicago Bulls.

"I'm preparing to not have him," said interim coach Frank Vogel. "I'm preparing for A.J. Price to start and T.J. (Ford) to back him up."

Price started the second half of Indiana's 96-90 loss in Game 2 Monday in Chicago and finished with 13 points and one assist.

"I'm just prepared to play and contribute, wherever it may be, starting or not," Price said. "I haven't heard anything as far as what it's going to be for tomorrow so my approach mentally is going to be the same way it's been all year. I'm just going to be ready to play however many minutes that may be."

Collison injured the ankle when he got tangled with baseline photographers late in the first half of Game 2.

"To be honest, I'm going to do whatever it takes to be out there," he said. "If I don't play tomorrow, I'll be shocked myself. It's the playoffs. I need to be out there to help my team."

Pacers facing must-win scenario

A loss tonight would leave the Pacers down 0-3 and facing the potential of being swept. A victory would put them right back in the series.

"We're looking at it like a must-win, without a doubt," said Price. "It's not over if we lose but it is over if we lose, in my opinion. We need to come out tomorrow and play like our backs are against the wall."

Leading scorer Danny Granger agreed.

"This game is really a must-win, do-or-die," he said. "You get down 0-3 in a series, it's really, really hard to come back."

Vogel had a different perspective.

"We don't look at it like that," he said. "We have one game to win. We're not looking at the hole or 0-2. We have one game to win and that's all our focus is on right now."

Corbeil, Eaton honored for saving Leonard's life

Head trainer Josh Corbeil and assistant Carl Eaton will be honored as Indiana Heroes during tonight's game for their role in saving the life of Bobby "Slick" Leonard, who suffered a severe heart attack on the team bus after a victory in New York on March 13.

"We've talked about that a lot, about all the different variables of how it could've gone poorly," said Corbeil. "We're lucky that the bus wasn't moving. We're lucky we weren't on an airplane. We're lucky that he wasn't outside walking around."

The two administered several minutes of vigorous CPR and used a defibrillator four times to keep Leonard alive until an ambulance arrived. Leonard will be in the radio booth tonight.

"We did what we're trained to do," said Eaton. "I don't feel like a hero."

They will be honored during a timeout in the first quarter.

"I'm just hoping," said Corbeil, "we're not busy with something else during that timeout."

Pacers try to plug rebounding leak

The Pacers have been outrebounded 106-67, with Chicago pulling 41 offensive rebounds.

"It's a major concern," said Vogel. "It's more of a concern than Derrick Rose."

Vogel said Rose's penetration causes the big men to rotate to help, taking them out of rebounding position. As a result, more players need to become engaged in the battle of the boards.

"Rebounding is always a five-man job from the center to the point guard," said Granger. "Everyone has to help, especially when they have bigs like Carlos Boozer and (Joakim) Noah, who are really active offensive rebounders. It's definitely a team effort."

Pacers anticipate big lift from home crowd

This will the first playoff game in Conseco Fieldhouse since May 4, 2006, when the Nets closed out a first-round series with a 96-90 victory.

Pacers players and coaches hope the atmosphere can give them a much-needed edge against the Bulls.

"Any time you're on the road and you're trying to execute in the last two minutes of a game it's going to be extremely difficult because you're playing against their defense, the crowd itself is very loud, it's hard to hear the play calls and things like that," said Price. "It'll be good to have the crowd on our side."

The Pacers are 51-27 in the postseason at home, 21-15 at CFH.

"It's going to be mayhem, it's going to be crazy, it's going to be awesome," said Vogel. "It's going to be the way Conseco Fieldhouse was meant to be."