Roy Hibbert has had some of the most embarrassing and terrible performances this postseason, including multiple zero-rebound, zero-point games. To see this from a player who was on the All-Star team this year has made Hibbert one of the most inexplicable players the NBA has seen in a while.
Even though Hibbert was saved from the embarrassment of another double-doughnut with his five rebounds, he still put forth his most pathetic display of this postseason and maybe even his entire career.
With news that Chris Andersen was going to miss the crucial Game 4, the already small Miami Heat lineup lost their biggest presence in the paint. In both of the Heat’s wins Andersen was the team’s leading rebounder and his absence forced the Heat to play small ball, giving Hibbert and the Indiana Pacers an opportunity to dominate the paint.
Even though Hibbert was set up for success with potentially the best opportunity he may have to take over a playoff game, he still disappeared, becoming more of a liability than an asset. In addition to putting up a dud on the scoreboard, Hibbert did not get to the free throw line a single time and his minus-23 on the night was the worst on the team by nine.
Hibbert was supposed to be the edge that could allow the Pacers to tie up the series, but he ended up being the biggest reason for their loss. What made Hibbert’s performance even worse than his shockingly awful stats indicate was his complete lack of intensity and activity in the game.
Hibbert was a non-factor on the offensive boards, he was tossing up air balls and when the game was out of reach he was pouting on the bench. At no point did Hibbert show the kind of desperation that was needed in a must-win game for the Pacers. Hibbert was disengaged, unproductive and appeared to take the night off when his play could have kept the Pacers in the series.
Hibbert seemed to have fallen back into that mysterious mental state that only a fishing trip with his teammates was able to fix. Earlier this postseason when Hibbert fell into a slump, the competition was weak enough that the Pacers were able to make up for him and bounce back. Now that the Pacers are in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Heat it is impossible to throw a game away and expect to have a chance at winning the series.
Hibbert should have been the difference maker in a positive way, but instead he cost his team a chance to win the game. Statistically Hibbert had worse games this postseason, but the timing of this performance is what makes the damage severe and irreparable.
Hibbert’s size was supposed to be the Pacers’ edge over the Heat, especially with Andersen out, and instead Hibbert’s pathetic display on the court could make the Pacers victims of a gentleman’s sweep.