Pregame: Frank Vogel Speaks To Media (Game 6)

April 29, 2016 - Pacers head coach Frank Vogel spoke with media before Game 6 of the Pacers' first-round matchup with the Toronto Raptors.

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Pregame: Frank Vogel Speaks To Media (Game 6)

April 29, 2016 - Pacers head coach Frank Vogel spoke with media before Game 6 of the Pacers' first-round matchup with the Toronto Raptors.
Apr 29, 2016  |  03:39

Blue-and-Gold Breakdown April 28, 2016

April 28, 2016 - On this episode of Blue and Gold Breakdown, Pat Boylan sits down with Pacers center Ian Mahinmi to discuss the team's mental state heading into a pivotal Game 6, and Pacers Radio Play-by-Play voice Mark Boyle joins the show to preview the keys to sending the series back to Toronto.
Apr 28, 2016  |  11:38

Pregame: Dwane Casey Speaks to Media (Game 6)

April 29, 2016 - Raptors head coach Dwane Casey talked to the media prior to Game 6, where is Raptors are seeking a series-clinching win.
Apr 29, 2016  |  02:51

Shootaround: Pacers Ready for Game 6

April 29, 2016 - Pacers head coach Frank Vogel, forward Paul George, and center Ian Mahinmi discuss the team's mentality heading into a must-win Game 6 against the Toronto Raptors.
Apr 29, 2016  |  01:03

Shootaround: DeRozan On Raptors' Hopes of Closing Series

April 29, 2016 - Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan talked about the Raptors' approach to Game 6, and how the adjustments of both teams have made for an intriguing series.
Apr 29, 2016  |  02:11

Shootaround: Lowry on Toronto's Game 6 Mindset

April 29, 2016 - Raptors guard Kyle Lowry spoke to reporters Friday morning about how the team is approaching Game 6, and his involvement on offense so far during the series.
Apr 29, 2016  |  02:04

Casey: "It's Going to Come Down to Will, Heart and Hard Play"

April 29, 2016: In the lead up to Game 6, Raptors head coach Dwane Casey shared what his team needs to do in order to close out the series tonight.
Apr 29, 2016  |  01:58

Practice Wrap Up: Pacers Look Ahead to Game 6

April 28, 2016 - Pacers.com's Jessica Wimsatt reports from practice at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, where the Pacers discussed their Game 5 loss in Toronto and looked ahead to Game 6 on Friday night.
Apr 28, 2016  |  02:39

Practice: Vogel Talks Game 6, Team Mindset

April 28, 2016 - Pacers head coach Frank Vogel talked about the team's mindset entering Friday's game, but revealed few details about his lineups going into Game 6.
Apr 28, 2016  |  03:26

Practice: Paul George on Overcoming Game 5's Ending, Avoiding Elimination in Game 6

April 28, 2016 - Following Thursday's practice at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Paul George spoke with media members about dealing with the disappointing outcome of Game 5 and moving on to a must-win Game 6 on Friday.
Apr 28, 2016  |  04:17

Mahinmi: "We've Got the Right Mindset"

April 28, 2016 - Pacers center Ian Mahinmi discusses how the team has responded from Tuesday's Game 5 loss in Toronto and what he expects in Game 6 on Friday night in Indianapolis.
Apr 28, 2016  |  01:57

Practice: Solomon Hill on Ball Movement, Game 6

April 28, 2016 - After practice on Thursday, Solomon Hill talked about what went well for the Pacers early on during Game 5, and how the team can use that approaching Game 6.
Apr 28, 2016  |  03:12

Practice: C.J. Miles on Facing Must-Win Game 6, Leaving Everything on the Floor

April 28, 2016 - After practice on Thursday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, C.J. Miles discussed withstanding the added pressure in Friday's must-win Game 6, how the Pacers will have to leave everything on the floor, and the benefit of an added boost from the home crowd.
Apr 28, 2016  |  03:34

Questions Surround George, Reserves

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

The bench that had been so productive late in the season abandoned him in Game 5, and his All-Star has played at an All-Star level throughout the series.

So, with the season having finally reached a must-win game, does Frank Vogel abandon his bench while draining every possible tick of the clock from his All-Star? Or does he offer second chances?

Vogel, understandably, was short on answers after practice on Thursday, given that heading into Game 6 of a playoff series when your team is down 3-2 isn't exactly the time to lay out your game plan for the world to see. But it seems safe to assume George will get all the action he can handle when the Pacers play Toronto on Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Could George play all 48 minutes?

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"If necessary," Vogel said following Thursday's practice. "We'll see tomorrow night."

Does Vogel wish he had played George all 48 in Game 5 in Toronto, when the Pacers lost a 13-point lead heading into the fourth quarter and gave up six quick points before he returned with 8 ½ minutes left?

"No," Vogel said quickly. "I thought we handled it the right way."

George, who is averaging 28.8 points on 47 percent shooting over 37.8 minutes in the series, isn't making demands, but he's willing to go all the way, if necessary. He was calm, quiet and serious when speaking with the media on Thursday, seemingly ready for anything.

"If that's the direction the game is going, I'm all for it," he said. "Whatever we have to do to win."

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Vogel took a barrage of criticism in social media circles and from certain media outlets for "only" playing George 41 minutes in Tuesday's loss in Toronto, given how the team collapsed in the second and fourth quarters when he wasn't on the court. George, though, directed the blame toward teammates who didn't perform up to expectations.

"Both times he took me out we were in the driver's seat, looking comfortable, up 15, up 13 … we're supposed to do our job and maintain that lead," George said. "We didn't know the game was going to go that direction."

Which brings up the issue of the Pacers' bench. Does Vogel offer another chance to the likes of Rodney Stuckey, Ty Lawson and C.J. Miles, who have struggled throughout most of the series, and mightily so in Game 5? It's his practice to stick with players through difficult stretches, to give confidence, to offer hope, and most of them were performing well late in the season.

But this is an elimination game.

The Pacers' bench has clearly influenced the series. It has combined for a hugely favorable plus-minus total in the Pacers' two victories, and a hugely unfavorable one in the three losses. It was outscored by 41 points in Game 5, by 45 in Game 3 and by 24 in Game 2. Stuckey, Miles and Lawson are veteran players, though, and Lawson in particular has a solid playoff resume.

What's a coach to do?

"I can't tell you that," Vogel said when asked how he'll handle his reserves on Thursday, again not wanting to reveal game strategy. "We'll see tomorrow night."

Vogel added, however, that he hasn't given up on anyone.

"Very confident in those guys," he said. "And we're going to need them."

The only thing clear from Thursday's practice was that the Pacers remain upbeat. That's been their norm after their ugliest losses during the season, when the outside world was giving up on them. They dominated the second-seeded Raptors in Game 4 at Bankers Life and all but a quarter-and-a-half in Game 5, so they can draw confidence from that, too.

From their point of view, it's just a matter of finishing the job.

"We knew it was going to be a long series and everything doesn't always go the way you want it to go," Ian Mahinmi said. "We have a good group of guys. We have a really good team and we believe in ourselves."

"We know we can beat them," Monta Ellis said.

"We feel like we have a good idea of what we have to do to beat this team," Vogel said. "We have to do it for 48 minutes."

Whether George is in the game or not.

The remaining issue is how George approaches Friday's game. He said late in the season, after the Pacers had lost homecourt games to Chicago and Orlando, that he would go back to being the player who was selected the NBA's Player of the Month in November and try to put the team on his back. That worked. After the Pacers lost Games 2 and 3 of this series, however, he said he was going to put more trust in his teammates. That worked, too, at least in Game 4.

What does he do now? Does he carry his teammates or trust them?

"I'll have to see how the game goes," he said. "I'm going to come out and be aggressive and look to get going early. At the same time, it's on everybody to get this one."


Have a question for Mark? Want it to be on Pacers.com? Email him at askmontieth@gmail.com and you could be featured in his next mailbag.

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

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