INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Pacers star forward Danny Granger says he’s not backing down from his earlier quote, and adds that he isn’t worried about the Bulls posting it on the bulletin board.
Granger has said he would rather play the Bulls than the Boston Celtics because of the Celtics’ championships and weapons, and that the best way to beat the Bulls is to “make a concerted effort to stop Derrick Rose. They go as Derrick Rose goes.”
“I meant what I said and I’m not taking anything back because I was just telling the truth,” Granger said after Thursday’s practice. “I don’t believe in any of that bulletin board stuff, anyway. This is the NBA. You’ve got to come to play every game no matter what. You don’t need bulletin board material. Especially when you’re a team like Chicago.”
The 6-8 Granger, a six-year veteran and an All-Star, leads the Pacers with 20.5 points a game. He most likely will be matched against the Bulls’ 6-8 small forward Luol Deng.
Pacers point guard Darren Collison he feels no extra pressure on him to be the Rose stopper.
“I just consider it an honor to be playing against him,” Collison said. “I’m going to do my best to defend him and we’ll do so as a team.”
Pacers operations chief Larry Bird knows how diffficult a shutdown can be.
“You don’t shut the great players down,” Bird said. “They might have a bad shooting night or get injured. But you don’t shut them down. Derrick will have an outstanding series. But they have a lot more firepower on this team. And if you spend a lot of energy trying to shut down one player, one of his teammates will step up to the plate.
“They’ll try to take Danny out, too. They’re try to make him put the ball on the floor more. But we’re not a top team. We didn’t win 37 games for nothing. We’re just a young team trying to get better and we’re just glad to be here.”
Interim coach Frank Vogel, 20-18 since he replaced Jim O’Brien, emphasized to “be sure you know where [Carlos] Boozer is at all times.”
But Vogel agrees that Rose bears special attention.
“His speed and his size are unparalleled,” Vogel said of Rose. “He’s definitely the fastest guy in the NBA. He’s Allen Iverson quick, Chauncey Billups strong and he can score from the perimeter. That combination is a killer. He’s got it all. So we’ll try different people on him.”