Head coach Frank Vogel made an inexcusable decision to leave 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert on the bench during the team’s final two defensive segments. We know the end result — back-to-back LeBron James‘ baskets and a one point Miami victory.
That’s in the past however, and the Pacers have fought back from that disappointing loss to even the series at two games apiece with things now switching back to Miami for Game 5. In Tuesday night’s Game 4 victory however, Hibbert was ironically enough the one to steal the show, scoring 23 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and simply manhandling Chris Bosh.
While Hibbert’s impact and production was easily visible on Tuesday night, let’s dive a bit more into the numbers.
Roy Hibbert & Dirk Nowitzki (2011 NBA Finals) are only players in Big 3 era w/ 20+ Pts & 10+ Reb in 3 straight postseason games vs Heat.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 29, 2013
We know that the Heat’s biggest on-the-court weakness is their inside presence. Bosh, Udonis Haslem and Chris “Birdman” Andersen are solid, but they can’t slow down the likes of Hibbert and David West.
Hibbert is putting up numbers both offensively and on the glass, but his impact supersedes that even more so.
In this series, LeBron has driven to the basket 18 times with Hibbert on the court. On those 18 drives, he has five points on 1-for-3 shooting and has passed the ball 11 times. Astonishing — that’s a front court anchor that James has seemingly wanted no part of.
James is smart though because with Hibbert off the court, LeBron has scored 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting with three passes on ten drives.
Vogel has learned his lesson I am sure — Hibbert will be on the court whenever necessary and if the Heat don’t make adjustments, the impact will run its course through the final few games of the series here.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS