Down but not out, Pacers look to corral Rose

Down but not out, Pacers look to corral Rose
April 19, 2011, 5:37 pm
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Posted: 12:32 p.m.

By Aggrey Sam
CSNChicago.com

Indiana wouldnt reveal what adjustments theyd make as far as defending Derrick Rose heading into Game 2 of their first-round series against the Bulls. Maybe thats because it would be all too familiar to Chicago.

Im not going to be a guy that tries to get all in him and pressure him full court, but we had a talk with Coach Frank Pacers interim head coach Frank Vogel before the game and he wanted me to be a Scottie Pippen type of player against him, said Pacers rookie Paul George, referring to the Bulls legendswho happens to have joined Comcast SportsNets broadcast team for the seriesdefensive versatility, which allowed him to guard point guards. I try to angle him, send him to my teammates. They did a great job helping. All I could really do was try to stay in front of him.

I got film of the game Game 1, went back and really studied him, really figured out what his tendencies are and really stayed true to my abilities. I knew I had the length and the foot speed to stay in front of him and gap him, as well, continued the 6-foot-8 rookie starting shooting guard out of Fresno State, who worked out for the Bulls prior to last years NBA Draft. He kind of took over last game later in quarters, so we tried to get the ball out of his hands. Thats where the trap came in. We wanted the Bulls to beat us with their other players, but hes a great player, so he made plays.

READ: Bulls know they must improve as series shifts to Indy

I knew I had to step up this time and really try to get the ball out of his hands or try to make him hit tough shots and thats what he did, hit tough shots.

Based on Roses scoring alonehe dropped in 36 pointsit would appear that the Pacers strategy of assigning a swingman on the lightning-quick point guard was none too effective, but George hounded the Bulls superstar into 10-for-25 shooting and six turnovers, as well as finishing with four blocks, three steals and what Vogel said was a team-record 18 deflections.

Hes a gifted defender, said Vogel. Very, very proud of his effort tonight.

Were just trying to give him some different looks. Give him a steady diet, he picks you apart, he continued. We tried to trap Rose out at halfcourt, as opposed to him drawing our whole team and then finding him.

While Rose wasnt exactly befuddled by Georges defense, his opponents combination of size, length and agility, as well as Indianas trapping defense, did appear to give him pause at certain junctures of the contest.

Ive got to use more ball fakes. Hes definitely a tall guy. He was playing almost the whole game. But ball fakes and making sure I play smart the whole game, even through fatigue, said Rose. Ive just got to get used to it, make smarter decisions, look at film tonight, go over it tomorrow and we should be ready for how their bigs step up a little bit more, and it should be easy basketball after that.

WATCH: Relive Bulls' Game 2 win over the Pacers

Praised Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, somewhat of a defensive connosieur: Paul George is a terrific player, good defender.

George guarding Rosealthough Vogel surprisingly assigned leading scorer Danny Granger to him on critical late possessionswas part of the Pacers game plan and although Darren Collison struggled with Roses size advantage and powerfully compact frame, Vogel didnt even have the option to deploy his diminutive starting point guard after he suffered a sprained left ankle, following a first-half fast-break layup and subsequent tumble into baseline photographers.

Right now, I think its day-to-day. Most likely, Im going to try to be back for Game 3, said Collison, who tried to test the injury at halftime. It an X-ray was negative. Right now, its just real sore and swelled up pretty bad, but well see.

Ninety percent of the time, if I have an injury like that, Id go right back out there and play on it, but its just frustrating because I cant even jog on it, he continued. Im definitely going to be treating it as much as I can. I definitely need to be out there for myself. Its disappointing, unfortunate that it happened.

While also disappointed in the loss, Collison was positive of his teams effort, singling out Georges defensive play and the job his backupsA.J. Price and veteran T.J. Forddid in his absence.

WATCH: Rose knows Indy will be a tough place to play

A.J. played well. T.J.s an experienced point guard. Hes been in the playoffs before. Im definitely very confident in those guys, said Collison. Its frustrating, but for the most part, our effort was there. Paul George did a good job defensively, made some shots tough for him. hes going to make shots, hes going to shoot the ball the majority of the time, so I thought we did a good job, solid, on defense. It came down to us and as a basketball team, if it comes down to you, then you have a legitimate shot to win the game.

Im proud of everybodys effort. Weve battled the last two games. I think everybody questioned whether we were going to come back in Game 2 and do the same thing, but all along, we kept telling people thats how weve been playing. Weve been playing like that throughout the whole season; thats how we play, so respect or not, I think people are going to start noticing our effort.

His 37-year-old rookie coachthe youngest in the leagueechoed his sentiments. When asked about his teams resiliency, Vogel, who prefaces postgame press conferences with an impromptu opening statement, took on an air of defiance.

Do you guys have any questions about that? I dont, he queried reporters. Were standing toe to toe with this team. Im very proud of our guys. Well take it back to Indy, see what happens.

Aggrey Sam is CSNChicago.com's Bulls Insider. Follow him @CSNBullsInsider on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bulls information and his take on the team, the NBA and much more.