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Roy Hibbert dominating Heat inside

May 29, 2013, 5:04 PM EDT

Pacers' Hibbert works against Heat's Andersen during the fourth quarter in Game 4 of their NBA Eastern Conference Final basketball playoff series in Indianapolis

The LeBron James/Dwyane Wade/Chris Bosh Miami Heat have allowed only one player to average at least 10 points, 10 rebounds and shoot 45 percent in a playoff series.

Roy Hibbert is on the verge of becoming the second.

Hibbert – who’s crushing the threshold by averaging 22.8 points and 12.0 rebounds per game and shooting 54.1 percent during the Eastern Conference Finals – is having his way with the undersized Heat in the paint.

If the Miami has an Achilles’ heal, it’s big and burly centers. But the 7-foot-2, 280-pound Hibbert is more like an Achilles’ hulk.

After becoming the first player to surpass those numbers against these Heat – averaging 12.3 points and 11.5 rebounds per game  and shooting 47.5 percent in the second round of last year’s playoffs – Hibbert is having even more success this year.

Neither of the Heat’s primary centers, Chris Bosh (6-foot-11, 235 pounds) and Chris Andersen (6-foot-10, 228 pounds), have the size to keep Hibbert off the block. It doesn’t matter who guards him, Hibbert is tossing around his defender:

  • With Bosh on the floor: 21-of-39 (53.8 percent) for 56 points in 111 minutes
  • With Andersen on the floor: 13-of-23 (56.5 percent) for 37 points in 46 minutes

Udonis Haslem (6-foot-8, 235 pounds) and Shane Battier (6-foot-8, 225 pounds) have often switched onto Hibbert while playing power forward, and they’ve been even less of a match.

The Heat just don’t have a player on their roster who matches up well with Hibbert.

Joe Anthony (6-foot-9, 245 pounds) seems like Miami’s best chance, but he’s played just three minutes in this series with Hibbert on the court. Other than LeBron, Juwan Howard (6-foot-9, 250 pounds) has the Heat’s highest body mass index. They ought to at least consider activating him and giving him a few minutes per game on Hibbert.

But Miami has no easy answer here, and Hibbert seems in position to keep crushing the Heat’s interior defense.

  1. stlouis1baseball - May 29, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    The dude has worked himself into a beast.
    Left handed hooks…right handed hooks…while becoming a rebounding & shot blocking machine.
    Keep bringing it Roy. Go Pacers!

    • money2long - May 29, 2013 at 8:20 PM

      is it true bosh is averaging under, keyword under, 4 rebounds a game this series ? hibbert is def being felt by the heat on the interior..

  2. fanofthegame79 - May 29, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    If Hibbert continues to improve his game (over the summer), he’ll be the best center in the NBA next year.

    • adoombray - May 29, 2013 at 5:50 PM

      He probably already is, and the only guy im good with putting ahead of him is Marc Gasol. That might be more of a statement about terrible center play these days, but the Playoffs are where you show who you really are and where legacies are made. We’re watching him take the leap right before our very eyes.

    • money2long - May 29, 2013 at 8:27 PM

      i wouldn’t mind that title for hibbert (best C in NBA) if he were consistent. hibbert is good, but to me, what defines a great player is consistency. and far too often hibbert’s game changes from game to game. i am not sold yet.

      remember, he’s in a series, seeing the same team. so if he has an advantage, he will continue to have an advantage. of course, the opposition will change strategy, but the point here is that hibbert will continue to see the same players. show me a season where he faces multiple teams, and gets the numbers he is getting now and i may get on board.

      • chicitybulls - May 30, 2013 at 12:53 AM

        Well said. Consistency is the key. He is playing very well right now but the centers I would put ahead of him in no particular order are:

        P. Gasol
        M. Gasol
        J. Noah
        D. Howard
        A. Horford (maybe)
        T. Duncan (I know historically he’s a 4 but he’s been playing the 5)
        Possibly N. Pekovic in a couple of years

        This is not to diminish Hibbert. As I said, he’s been playing very well in the playoffs but I wouldn’t call him all in out the best C in the league next year.

      • fanofthegame79 - May 30, 2013 at 10:06 AM

        I hear what you’re saying. That’s why I think he needs to continue to evolve his game over this summer. If he does that, next year he will be the best center in the NBA and I bet he has more consistency.

      • money2long - May 30, 2013 at 11:12 AM

        i think if cousins wasn’t a ticking time bomb, a lot of fans wouldn’t be scared to say he may have the edge on hibbert. but cousins’ defense pales in comparison to that of roy’s.

      • gostlcards5 - May 30, 2013 at 12:29 PM

        Keep in mind, he’s only a 3rd year player. His offensive game has improved significantly since his rookie season (despite his poor start to this season).

        The most impressive thing to me is his leadership. I love the way he talks during/after the games. He does not take anything for granted, sees himself in and wants the leadership role, holds himself accountable before his teammates. Just a good guy to have on your team. I believe that as he continues to improve, he will be in the top 2-3 centers in the league for a long time.

      • money2long - May 30, 2013 at 1:21 PM

        there’s honarable. and there’s sheer talent. cousins is the latter. hibbert exhibits behavioral traits you want in a great player. cousins lacks that. but what he does have, is sheer…talent. period. observers only beg of him to get his head on straight. what i’m trying to say is, yes, i understand hibbert’s intangibles. but i can’t ignore cousins’ game.

  3. dbones750 - May 29, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    Who is the other player? Kd?

  4. buffalo65 - May 29, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    So glad the Raps traded him for Jermaine O’Neil.

  5. gmsingh - May 29, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    They need to start calling him Kareem Jr.

    • Kurt Helin - May 29, 2013 at 7:54 PM

      He’s been good, let’s not go overboard.

      • gmsingh - May 30, 2013 at 7:52 AM

        You’ll be saying something different in 20 years.

  6. azarkhan - May 29, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    It’s amazing (to me at least) how Hibbert has transformed himself from the clumsy, plodding center he was at Gtown into a dominant NBA center. Congratulations to him for all the hard work and to the Pacers for believing in him.

  7. htownred34 - May 29, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    Juwan Howard lol….

  8. yousuxxors - May 29, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    I think he listened to Shaq and is playing angry. he destroyed the Knicks and now is destroying the heat. plays amazing defense. I have never seen a center jump that straight up and cover so much ground. rebound magnet. he should work with the dream over the summer to solidify his post moves and become the best center in the game he has the skills to be.

  9. stephenolszewski - May 29, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    I’m glad to see Hibbert doing good this series, he’s a good character guy and shows all these small ball teams that a good Center can be a major part on both sides of the ball even if Miami has won without a true Center. Just sick of seeing people saying the Center position is dying out

  10. yousuxxors - May 29, 2013 at 10:08 PM

    I never said he was the best but you cannot deny that he has the skills to be. he’s playing like a beast these playoffs. I think he needs to play angry and go to work on his moves with hakeem. his defense is always great, now if he can play offense like this all the time he could take that title.

  11. canehouse - May 29, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    The HEAT are the perfect matchup for him… he and the Pacers have taken full advantage of it. Now’s it’s a 3 game series… can / will they close out the Champs with 2 more wins?? It should be fun watching to see if they can do it. LET’S GO HEAT!!!!

    • gostlcards5 - May 30, 2013 at 12:31 PM

      Thank God…a Heat fan that calls it the same way I do. I think the matchup and the series have been fun to watch, despite the crappy refereeing in both directions. Here’s to continuing a great series! Kudos to you, sir! Go Pacers!

  12. louhudson23 - May 30, 2013 at 4:25 AM

    Wow,who would have thought a player over 7′ putting his big ass to wok inside with good footwork and a hook shot could be an offensive force…..Great center play has gone the way of the Heavyweight boxer….too few with the heart and desire to work and bang….

  13. rodyaugu - May 30, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    Let’s not get overboard about Hibbert. The only reason he’s dominating the heat is because the refs make sure the heat bigs are in foul trouble every game so Hibbert can take advantage. If the heat were allowed to play him tough like all the other big men in the league we wouldn’t even be talking about him right now.

    • rtfinch - May 30, 2013 at 8:59 AM

      You have a team that flops the most in the nba, yet no one has been fined…. and you’re complaining about officiating? Shut up and pray lebron takes over the next two so you’re not watching the decision 2014 where he chooses LA.

      • rodyaugu - May 30, 2013 at 11:32 AM

        You tell one game in this series where the heat bigs aren’t in foul trouble, while Hibbert was only called for 1 foul in game.

      • rodyaugu - May 30, 2013 at 11:33 AM

        I meant 1 foul in game 4

      • rtfinch - May 30, 2013 at 10:13 PM

        Lebron was called for zero fouls in game 3. its great defense right?

    • gostlcards5 - May 30, 2013 at 12:33 PM

      Right…because everyone knows there has to be a conspiracy to get the Pacers into the NBA Finals….whatever, man. Keep whining.

  14. lemfaxx - May 30, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    FACT: if the game is close in less than two minutes left in the game you could rely on the ref:)

  15. lemfaxx - May 30, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    So far series controlled by the pacers unless eric can do some big adjustments

  16. mungman69 - May 30, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    Three players were fined for flopping in game 4.

  17. nobandwagonridersallowed - May 30, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    Joel Anthony seems to fair the best against, Hibbert, however he’s offensively inept! And it makes it that much harder for Lebron and Wade to create space when Battier and Allen aren’t hitting perimeter shots. So unless the role players start hitting their shots, I don’t think there’s anyway you can have Joel Anthony in the game, which ultimately means more of Hibbert doing whatever the hell he wants down low… Smh… Get it together, Bosh or coach Spo should get Reshard Lewis in the game!

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