Houdini Hibbert Is At It Again
Just when I thought Roy Hibbert was regaining his confidence, he lays a goose egg in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat.
In 22 minutes, Hibbert managed to score 0 points.
I was just as effective from an offensive standpoint in the comfort of my living room. And I was just as invisible as him in the highlight package:
When Hibbert is playing well, so are the Indiana Pacers. His production can be paralleled to the genetic composition of this team. If he's on a roll, swarming the defensive end, effectively using his height and hook shot on the offensive end, and standing firm, the Pacers are that much more difficult to compete against.
Although Hibbert claims that he wasn't a part of Frank Vogel's game plan, he still needs to be aggressive when the opportunity presents himself. Hibbert, historically, has played so well against the Miami Heat that you question why he wouldn't be a more focal point, especially on the offensive end.
The Miami Heat are thin on the front line, and Indiana has yet to exploit that mismatch except for Game 1. When his named is called, Rashard Lewis has played unbelievable defense against David West, who at this point, is a much better player than Lewis. But if Lewis is locking him down defensively, other areas need to be exploited within that stingy Miami defense.
Keep in mind that last year, Hibbert averaged 22 and 10 respectively against this same Miami team. Yet, the Heat's upgrades, if you want to call them that, aren't contributing as much as last year's team. Greg Oden was brought in to specifically lock down Hibbert in case Miami faced Indiana again this year in the playoffs. He has yet to get off the bench.
Why wouldn't Indiana try to capitalize with their advantage up front?
With everything that Hibbert has endured, it seemed as if he was getting back on track and last night's performance was pathetic. I understand that he was in foul trouble but as a frontline big man, you should be able to recognize how the game is being called and make the necessary adjustments. If it's ticky tacky, continue to play defense but play more conservatively. If the game is loose, play more aggressive. Hibbert failed to recognize what was happened and ultimately took himself out of the game.
The bottom line: In order for the Pacers to have a fighter's chance, they need HIbbert to be on the floor and be aggressive both offensively and defensively. They need him to deflect shots, restrict passing lanes, and bully his opponent on the offensive end while scoring at will.
There's no time to think, Hibbert. That's what started this uncanny slump in the first place.
If you play the way you're capable of playing, this series would be a lot more intriguing.