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Hibbert says he’s the “weak link on defense,” hopes for better Game 2

Apr 20, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

Atlanta Hawks v Indiana Pacers - Game One Getty Images

Only the Houston Rockets took more threes than the Atlanta Hawks per game this season (25.8), so the Pacers had to know what was coming in Game 1, especially with Paul Millsap at the four and Pero Antic starting at center — spread the floor and launch threes.

Indiana never adjusted for it — Atlanta launched 30 of them in Game 1 (hitting 11, not great but solid), plus that spacing opened the floor up for Jeff Teague to do whatever he wanted (George Hill seemed to try to funnel him into help, except the help had to be guarding guys at the arc). On top of that, Indiana never made Atlanta pay the price inside at the other end — just 38 points in the paint.

Roy Hibbert remains emblematic of the Pacers problems. He had 8 points on 9 shots, plus 8 rebounds in nearly 30 minutes of court time. He had no blocks… but Kyle Korver blocked him. Twice. That’ s simply not good enough.

Hibbert owned up to it at least after Game 1, as reported by the Indy Star.

“I’m gonna keep working at it,” Hibbert said dourly after the game, his head down, his words sparse. “I’m gonna come in and keep doing what I do in practice, work on my hook and get in position down low. Hopefully when I’m called upon I can do it consistently….

“We just have to get certain guys under control as a team,” Hibbert said. “I’m sure we’ll look over film. I’m the main culprit in terms of being the weak link on defense because they have a spread-five lineup. I guess we’ll have to adjust.”

You guess?

The playoffs are all about match ups and Atlanta’s spread offense is admittedly a tough one for the Pacers. Sure, the Pacers from the first half of the season would have just physically steamrolled this Atlanta team anyway, punishing them inside on offense, moving Paul George on to Teague earlier and being physical with him. This Pacers team didn’t know how to do that. Frank Vogel deserves some criticism for being slow to adjust.

There is a lot of series left and the Pacers are by far the more talented team. On paper. They should adjust, they should pound the Hawks inside on offense and harass them at the arc on defense in Game 2.

The pre All-Star break Hawks would have (this isn’t a Bynum and Granger thing, the Pacers’ slide started before those moves). The pre All-Star break Hibbert would have taken this performance personally and made everyone pay next time out. We’ll see if that Hibbert is still in there.

Hibbert is a big key if Indy is going to win this series. At least he knows it. Now we’ll see what he does about it.

  1. ProBasketballPundit - Apr 20, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    He’s actually the weak link on offense. Sad that he can’t figure that out. He always clogs the lane at the worst times and apparently now fades to the corner for corner 3’s. But no, there’s totally some selfish dudes on that team, Hibbert. Who could it be? Hmmm…

  2. tfoz5150 - Apr 20, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    He needs to quit mopin’ around and MAN UP!!! Sheeezz! He sounds just like Ladanian Tomlinson everytime he opens his mouth. Nothing’s changed for the players on the court since the first half for this team. They just have to understand they are the same team they were in the first half. Just because Granger’s not in the locker room and they have a couple new faces in there doesn’t mean they can’t dominate. Trust in Bird he knows what he’s doing.

  3. daddyb1gdrawz - Apr 20, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    I do not know why everyone is on Hibbert. Hibbert is only effective against Miami period. Indiana would be wise to have him come off the bench and play a larger role against the winner of Wiz/Bulls.

    • leahcima1 - Apr 20, 2014 at 4:49 PM

      What did you see yesterday that leads you assume the Pacers will be playing the winner of the Bulls/Wiz series?

      • john242322 - Apr 21, 2014 at 2:58 PM

        What I saw was a Pacers team play absolutely awful but yet still only lost by 8…Just imagine if the Pacers were playing even remotely good, Pacers would easily smash the Hawks…

        Pacers will still win this series even if they aren’t playing their best ball. they’ll make the necessary adjustments and still pull through this series

    • redbaronx - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:11 PM

      @daddyb1gdrawz – I agree about sitting Hibbert a little more for this series. Smart championship coaches adjust all the time. Phil Jackson didn’t have a set rotation for his runs and would play one player over another in his starting 5 depending on how a series was going. He used to readjust to the Knicks all the time when they had those great Chicago vs NY series back in the early 90’s.

      Indiana has the personnel to go small ball if they need to, and there’s no reason to force Hibbert on the game if Atlanta is going to be shooting from the outside and limiting his effectiveness down low.

      I think Vogul needs to seriously think about letting David West play the 5 for this series.

  4. lj312chicago - Apr 20, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    First Hubert’s still young he needs to grow up really fast here..2nd why Indiana can’t get him the ball in the paint 10 times a game at least is just baffling……3rd no one on that team looks like they’re playing with any heart right now

    • laclove - Apr 21, 2014 at 11:17 AM

      The youngsters on this team all need to grow up. They wanted the 1 seed, they got it and can’t handle it. They don’t seem to handle adversity well either. The team aspect and chemistry just doesn’t seem to be there. PG is good player but putting a team on his back and carrying them through the playoff is not going to happen. A full team effort is definitely needed by this team.

  5. brianscalabrine - Apr 20, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    They need to play through David West at the high post. He’s probably the best passer and can be deadly there.

  6. aboogy123456 - Apr 20, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    He’s not owning up at all, this guy is an immature pouter and if you read into his comments you’ll see that he’s actually complaining again about not getting the ball on offense. “hopefully when I’m called upon”??? man up, shut up, and play hard.

  7. 700levelvet - Apr 20, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    Kyle Korvers Bltch!! Ha ha ha

  8. cantonbound13 - Apr 20, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    Hibbert sucks. There’s such a lack of talent in the NBA these days. This guy would be eaten up by the centers in the 90s.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:31 PM

      You’re an expert at sucking. How do LeBron’s jockstraps taste?

      • cantonbound13 - Apr 21, 2014 at 12:07 PM

        I should be asking you that. Any criticism of LeChoke & you run to his defense.

  9. broham1 - Apr 20, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    ZONE

  10. jkirby317 - Apr 20, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    Maybe this will piss him off…

  11. afraz89 - Apr 21, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    Roy Hibbert is soft like baby food.

  12. urodaddy07 - Apr 21, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    I do think Hibbert is a mediocre centre at best. His lack of offence is more pronounced this team team that struggles to generate easy shots. When he does score, this should be a bonus, he cannot be expected to produce consistently; its really not his fault that he is not a good scorer. I suppose if he works hard he could develop into one, but his lack of athleticism and quickness argue against this. Now, where he has to produce night in and night out is on defence. If he fails at that the Pacers are in big trouble. The problem is that he is going to struggle if the perimeter defenders fail to prevent quick guards like Teague from penetrating, because he lacks the quickness to make up for those types of mistakes. He is a very effective rim protector though providing the rotations don’t break down. In short, Pacers may pull this series out because the Hawks are a bit limited themselves but I don’t see them getting to the conference finals

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