Roy Hibbert was simply fantastic in game 2 of the Indiana Pacers vs Miami Heat Eastern Conference Finals. The biggest story of game 1 was Frank Vogel’s decision to bench Hibbert late in the game. The center’s name is making headlines once again, but this time in a more positive light.
Game 2 was another grind, but the Pacers managed to jump out to a lead and looked better than Miami for most of the game. One particular play that the Heat simply couldn’t find an answer to was high pick-and-rolls involving Hibbert. Lance Stephenson and George Hill were actively finding Hibbert throughout the game, whether it was passing out of a trap or just a great entry pass into the post.
Once the ball was in Hibbert’s hands, he went to work. He was able to effectively use shot fakes to get the defenders in the air and got to the line early and often. Roy scored a career playoff-high 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in game 2, and he did so by being aggressive. When the defense was not as tight, Hibbert constantly went to his hook shot, which has been off for most of the season but is now finding its way into the basket. When Miami tried defending Hibbert in more aggressive fashion, he left his opponents no other option but to foul, sending the big man to the line for 10 free throws, where he converted on all but one.
Even though Hibbert has been a lot better offensively in the playoffs than he was in the regular season, he still didn’t get consistent looks in the previous series. Against the New York Knicks he could put up 18 shot attempts in one game, only to take just eight shots in the next one.
While two games is a relatively samll sample size, Hibbert has been involved offensively in both games so far. He took 18 shots in game 1 and 15 in game 2. When his hook isn’t falling, he can often lose confidence in his offensive abilities and just rely on his defensive prowess to help his team. However, if he can maintain this kind of scoring rhythm, the NBA champions could be in for a long series.
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