The Pacers aren't dead yet, and listening to them following their win Friday night, they don't have intentions of being put six feet under anytime soon.
All the talk and hype of a Bulls-Jazz NBA Finals rematch will have to wait a couple more days, if not longer.Nobody believed the Pacers had a chance in Game 3. Nobody believed they could win Game 4. And certainly nobody expected Indiana to win with the Bulls eyeing two extra days rest in preparation for the Utah Jazz. But that's exactly what Indiana did last night.
But can the Pacers possibly do it one more time?
"We don't care what anybody thinks, we just believe in ourselves," Antonio Davis said.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for this franchise," Reggie Miller said.
Odds are stacked against Indiana, however. On two previous occasions it played in Game 7 of an Eastern Conference finals, and both times the Pacers lost, once to Orlando and once to New York.
So what makes them believe they have a prayer in Game 7, in Chicago of all places? "I think we've already done half of it, it's just a matter of believing in ourselves," Davis said.
The Pacers won one game in the United Center earlier this year, but that was during the regular season. In the series' first two games, Indiana played well, but not well enough down the stretch. Then in Game 5, the Pacers basically forgot to show up and were annihilated.
Nobody, especially the Bulls, expects the Pacers to fold again during the series finale Sunday afternoon.
"Both teams have fought hard for two weeks and now it comes down to one game for the chance to play in the finals," Miller said. "This is great."
Unfortunately for Indiana, Chicago has won its last 12 Eastern Conference finals home games. The last time the Bulls lost they weren't even playing in the United Center. It was back in 1992 against Cleveland in Chicago Stadium.
After the Pacers won Game 4, everybody said the pressure was all on the Bulls. Then they throttled Indiana in Game 5, and suddenly the pressure was on the Pacers again.
So who's the pressure on now?
"The pressure is on everybody," Davis said. "Everybody's facing elimination."
The Pacers do have one thing going for them. Most teams, excluding Chicago of course, usually have one bad game in a series. Indiana's hoping that its one brain lapse was Wednesday. Miller doesn't anticipate playing as poorly as he did Friday night when the series shifts to Chicago Sunday, a game he calls the biggest of his life.