NBA Indiana Pacers

Indiana Pacers Back to Full Strength as Roy Hibbert Returns on Friday

Roy Hibbert Indiana Pacers

Brian Spurlock – USA Today Sports Images

On Tuesday, the Internet and sports media outlets exploded after the game between Indiana Pacers and Golden State Warriors was over and the dust had settled from the shoving-match turned bench-clearing brawl. The initial shoving match between Roy Hibbert and David Lee resulted in a one-game suspension for the two of them and fines for others involved in the altercation.

Hibbert served his suspension last night as the Pacers faced off against the Los Angeles Clippers. Hibbert’s absence was glaring in the 99-91 loss for Indiana. For the season, the Pacers average 38.9 points in the paint per game and gave up only 35.4 points in the paint per game. They also have the second-best scoring defense in the NBA, allowing just 89.7 points per game.

However, Indiana scored just 32 points in the paint and allowed 50 points in their game on Thursday against the Clippers. With Hibbert being their starting center, it’s obvious that him not being on the floor influenced that dramatic swing in those numbers.

Hibbert obviously isn’t an elite offensive player as he averages just 10 points per game on just 42 percent shooting. His defense is the biggest factor that the Pacers will welcome back, though. He averages 2.6 blocks per game and has a phenomenal defensive rating of 94.8.

On Friday as Hibbert returns and Indiana faces off with the Toronto Raptors, the Pacers should be able to play more efficient and effective defense and also have a little more offense in the post. For their sake they’re probably hoping that’s the last time Hibbert gets in a scuffle or does anything to get suspended.

Cody Williams is a Senior NBA Writer with Rant Sports. Follow Cody on Twitter @TheSizzle20 and like his Facebook page.