INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 23: A.J. Price #12 of the Indiana Pacers puts up a shot over C.J. Watson #32 and Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Conseco Fieldhouse on April 23, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Pacers defeated the Bulls 89-84. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Sometimes you just have to get back to the basics and remember what got you to where you are.
While relaxing his body Friday evening for an unknown role in a huge game the next day, reserve point guard A.J. Price wanted to get his mind right to take on the Chicago Bulls. So he pulled out some old games from his days at UConn when he was successful helping to guide his team to the Final Four.
What he saw was a confident player, making plays the way he needed to against the Bulls. The trip down memory lane served as the inspiration for Price's mind set when he took the court on Saturday.
'I was watching old college tapes," Price said. "And one thing I noticed I wasn't doing (with the Pacers) was taking and making my pull-up threes, where I'm just in rhythm and I rise up and shoot the ball. So I said, today if I get a chance to do that I'm definitely going to do that, so it felt like college out there today."
Price hit two of those pull-up threes in perfect rhythm during the personal 8-2 run he contributed in a stretch of just over two minutes which stradled the third quarter break and left the Pacers with a 16-point lead early in the fourth quarter.
Price was one of several role players to play a big role in the win. He played just 15 minutes but scored 10 points notching a +10 effort while on the court.
If you look back on the win, it is impossible to pick out a player or two and give them the credit for rising up and carrying the Pacers to victory. Anyone on the floor in the last two minutes has the blemishes of that close on their game, even though they all made plays throughout the game to put the Pacers in position to at least hold on and win.
As they had in the earlier great efforts that ended in defeat, the Pacers relied on a team effort to build that double-digit lead which was just enough to hold up on Saturday. That meant getting a sporadic boost at one end of the floor or the other from everyone who happened to play.
Paul George was huge in the first half. Josh McRoberts did a little of everything off the bench (until the final two minutes). Roy Hibbert had his moments. Danny Granger led the way with 24 points and the four free throws to close out the W.
The Pacers definitely lead the league in "yeah, buts" and a variety of other qualifiers you have to use to explain the great play the team has shown that isn't always great. But as far as the first four playoff games go, they are always fun.