Hibbert only way for Pacers to beat Heat
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
INDIANAPOLIS — Can the Indiana Pacers clone Roy Hibbert?
That would be the easiest way to solve their LeBron James problem, the nightmare James created for the Pacers in Game 3 by driving to the basket and posting up in the paint. While James found success down low, the Miami Heat also spread out the rest of their offense, drawing the Pacers’ defenders out to the perimeter and taking advantage of the open space that created.
That meant Hibbert, the Pacers’ 7-2 center, was often unable to help guard the rim, as he’d done all season and previously in the series. Keeping Hibbert on his toes and out of the paint was part of Miami’s game plan.
“We can’t just let him sit down in the post and patrol the lane without making him think a little bit about what he has to do,” Miami Heat forward/center Chris Bosh said. “Udonis (Haslem, who had 17 points on 8-for-9 shooting) was a big part of that. We’re going to have to utilize our outside shooting to lure (Hibbert) out — just a couple of steps, so he won’t be as quick to the challenges as usual.”
The Pacers spent much of Monday’s interview session promising changes and adjustments. Anything to combat the attack the Heat used to exploit one of the NBA’s best defenses. News reporters asked Hibbert over and over how he could help Paul George with James posting up in the paint while also defending his man on the perimeter.
“I’m going to do both — guard the paint and get out there,” Hibbert said. “This series, if we want to win, I have to do everything. … It’s the playoffs, and I don’t want to go home. If I have to move my feet a lot quicker, I’ll do it.”
Hibbert can alter games, or at least alter the way opponents attack the rim, because of his defense and shot-blocking (2.6 a game this season). After Game 1, Pacers coach Frank Vogel drew criticism for keeping Hibbert on the bench during James’ buzzer-beating layup in overtime. According to ESPN Stats & Info, James … [For more on Roy Hibbert may be only way for Pacers to beat Heat, click here.]