by Scott Agness | @ScottAgness
Updated: November 21, 2013
Ahead of the Pacers' nationally-televised game in New York Wednesday night, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith was at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Monday to gather interviews. By no surprise, the Pacers were interviewed together, just like all five starters went to the postgame press conference together after their Game 6, series-clinching win over the Knicks in last year's Eastern Conference semifinals. All five starters led the team in scoring in at least one of the games in that series.
For this SportsCenter segment, it was the starting five -- George Hill, Lance Stephenson, Paul George, David West and Roy Hibbert -- plus coach Frank Vogel. The interviewed lasted about 20 minutes, George said, but the condensed version that aired on SportsCenter Tuesday night is 5 minutes and 15 seconds.
Paul George, a budding star and the face of the team, spoke first: "It's a togetherness environment here. We all pull for one another when we're on the floor, when we're off the floor. I've never felt so a part of a team. ... It's a special feeling here."
Vogel subsequently added: "We're at a point in our franchise where we should expect to win every single time we step on the court."
When asked whether it is championship or bust for the Pacers this season, David West jumped on the question and said, "Yeah, I think so."
Being looked over is nothing new to these Pacers. The highest-drafted player on their roster is George, who was selected 10th in the 2010 draft. He's also the only player in his draft class to make the All-Star team.
"That's the one thing that connects all of us, connects our locker room," West added. "The fact that we have guys that are driven to prove our worth. In terms of where we feel like we can go with this group, we're fighting to be the stop dog -- last man standing."
An interesting moment happens at the 4:55 mark when David West is talking about what motivates the team: He is bleeped out. However, he didn't actually curse, instead choosing a shortened version of the full word, leaving the video entirely "suitable for work".
It's worth noting that ESPN did not use a clip of George Hill speaking. George and West received the majority of the time.
Watch both parts of the interview for yourself in the embedded video at the top of this page.
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