Roy Hibbert‘s performance for the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday against the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference series was decent, but it needs to get better. The Pacers came close, losing 103-102 against the Heat. Most observers say winning Game 2 is a strategically more important win, but losing Game 1 by a point at Miami was indeed heartbreaking.
It will either be a wake-up call for the Heat or a motivational plus for the Pacers. Time will tell, but Hilbert needs to have solid games all series. For the playoffs, the Pacers center has been averaging 14 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists a game. Against the Heat, he had nearly 41 minutes of action and was 9-of-18 from the floor for 18 points, and had nine rebounds with two blocks.
Those numbers are typical of what Hibbert has been doing in the playoffs, but the Pacers are playing the Miami Heat, so all numbers need to be higher. Hibbert gives the Pacers that key presence inside to try to get a few extra points here, a few extra rebounds there and few shot blocks here. He needs a game with 25 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks. The more Hibbert can do to help stop LeBron James from doing his thing, the better off the Pacers will be.
That might be asking too much, but it is what the Pacers need to earn a chance in the playoffs. Despite the loss in Game 1, Hibbert and his teammates had a decent performance against the Heat. This could be a seven-game series.