The best ‘big’ man in Professional Basketball is not Dwight Howard. It is without question the Indiana Pacers Roy Hibbert. He and his teammates proved Saturday evening that the Miami Heat are not invincible.
Hibbert had 24 points, 11 rebounds, and forced the Heat to attempt difficult shots inside. Paul George added 28 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists, as the Pacers held Miami to 36.1 percent shooting, and forced a game 7 in Miami on Monday night.
“Myself and David (West), we throw ourselves in the fray, in the paint. We like to muck it up,” Hibbert said. “Paul and myself, we wanted to make sure we got this for him as well. We didn’t want this to be our last game.”
The Pacers had a 53-33 rebounding advantage, outscored Miami 44-22 in the paint and limited Miami’s shooters to 16 of 54, 29.6 percent, from inside the arc.
LeBron James had 29 points for the Heat, but no one else had more than 10. Without scoring help, there was no doubt that Miami was not invincible.
The Pacers are a ‘big’ team, and Miami had trouble penetrating. They haven’t won a division championship since 2004, and are now in a battle for the Eastern Championship, and on to battle the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA finals.
“Roy Hibbert is making extraordinary plays in the pocket, poise in the pocket we call it,” coach Frank Vogel said. “He’s getting paint catches and just having great poise, great reads. He’s not plowing over guys. He had a charge in Game 5, but has been under control.”
The one game suspension of Chris “Birdman” Andersen added to the Heat’s problems inside. Without him, they had no dominant inside force.
It’s tough to beat a team at home in game 7. But don’t count the Pacers out. They are playing aggressively, confidently, and represent an indomitable desire to win it all. And, above all, they’ve proven that the Heat are not invincible.
The Guardian Express