Pacers’ Hibbert Finally Erupts Against Howard-less Magic





ORLANDO – Roy Hibbert threw down a vicious dunk near the end of the third quarter, which was not as thunderous as what came next.

He stared down Glen Davis, his first-round series tormentor up to this point, and flexed. Yes, the player who was supposed to enjoy a somewhat dominant series was finally feeling and looking very strong indeed.

Hibbert and the Pacers are now firmly in control, and if not for two missed Danny Granger free throws in Game 1, would be going for a sweep come Saturday. They issued a 97-74 stomping of the Magic at Amway Center, the kind of one-sided result you’d expect from a No. 3 seed playing a team without its franchise center.

“I was just more determined, more aggressive,” said Hibbert. “I came out angry, wanting to do something big.”

There was no Dwight Howard, but there was a Howard-like performance from Hibbert, who delivered on both ends this time. In the first two games he was one-dimensional, blocking 11 shots and averaging 13 rebounds but also shooting five-for-16 against Davis, who’s six inches shorter. Hibbert was meek in the paint and shaky with his shot. And then the Pacers simply stopped looking for him. The Pacers have preached patience with Hibbert and were unwilling to force the ball into his hands, even with Howard out of the series following back surgery. After all, despite making the All-Star team two months ago, he remains a work in progress on offense.

It finally came together in Game 3. In his return to the arena where he made his All-Star debut, Hibbert mixed in a few jump hooks with put-backs, and shot eight for 10. He finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds in only 28 minutes and was the reason the Pacers pulled away with a big third quarter.

“When Roy is into the game like that,” said David West, “he makes us all better.”

Davis once again was the most productive player in a Magic uniform, at one point accounting for half his team’s points in the first half. He finished with 22 points but Orlando was a step-slow on the glass all night. The Pacers used a 48-33 rebound advantage to trigger the rout.

A series best known for missing a dominant big man saw a player do a very good impression of one. If Roy Hibbert is bringing efforts like this, Indiana is prepared to move on.

14 Comments

  1. JOEL NOT ALLSTAR WHO? says:

    Roy Hibbert is not the only Pacer big man that can play…like Charles Barkley Said..they have depth..you have no idea what Tyler and Amundson are capable of…JOEL IS NOT A LEVEL OF HIBBERT.

  2. ROY WHO? says:

    Joel anthony is more than enough for hibbert, hibbert is TOO SOFT for a 7.2″ center and he cant score the ball, pacers got no chance vs the heat, hibbert will get his average 10 points 8 rebounds in the series at most, he is just a bench player.

  3. Everybody talkin about if howard was there well hes not and when were done with the magic then guess what the heat will have nobody in the middle to handle hibbert either lets go pacers.

    • dattebayo says:

      Bosh will handle Hibbert and Haslem will guard David West. Hibbert isn’t a dominant scorer so the Heat will be fine in that matchup. The question will be whether Hibbert will stay on Bosh on defense or if they will switch. Bosh spaces the floor better on offense than Haslem does and the Pacers want Hibbert to be near the rim for shotblocking.

      After taking down the Knicks with Chandlers defense and Anthony offense I think the Heat will be prepared for Hibbert and Granger though :P

  4. Goods! says:

    The Magic are build around Howard. Without him, they are disfunctional..a team full of three point shooters and under sized hustllers.

    There is no way the Pacers should be struggling to beat these guys. Roy should be averaging a ‘high’ double double agasint this. In the current NBA, espacially comming out of the east, Roy is an Allstar. There just no good centres in the league anymore which is a little sad.

    Everyone wants to be a point guard or the next Jordan.

  5. michael says:

    Howard is better than him…for now… just think of some of the guys who have back issue…..ex. t-mac .. and its weird that orlando fans are still cheering on him when he wants out of that team… so saying that dwight howard is better bla bla bla ..doesnt support the team by any means of taunting.. orlando needs to rebuild again and make sure to never draft or franchise a center again..lesson learn twice now… so orlando fans out there…just support the current roster that are playing now rather that giving use the hologram dwight howard…..and as a long time 20yrs pacers fan all i can say is…MWAHAHAHAHA

  6. No way says:

    The orlando magic right now are one of the weakest teams of the 2012 NBA playoffs, put any other playoff team against them for a series of games and they r gunna get owned hard, they might win a game like they did vs pacers but thats all. And Roy Hibbert is a disappointment, hes too WEAK for a 7.2 center no skills offensively he has poor athleticism and stamina. He is bad for a starting 7.2″ center he really is just a 7.2″ bench player who can only put 18 and 10 once in a year vs shorter NON center players like davis and anderson….pacers would have been sooooooooooooooo much better if he was a good center but this aint the case :-(

  7. BIG D says:

    Howard averaged 24 points and 11 rebounds per game in the reg season vs the Pacers. Big Baby Davis (his replacement) is averaging 18.8 and 7 rebs so far in the playoffs. Not a very big drop off if you ask me. So saying that the Magic would have done this and that if Howard is there is rather ridiculas as YOU just dont know what would of happened. I’m sure the entire game would of been different but then again I could say IF the pacers had Regie Miller still they would have blown out the Magic. LOL see my point.

    BTW: HIbberts season reb avg was 9. Getting 10,12 & 13 rebounds are not big of a stretch to reach especially in the playoffs when play becomes more intense.

  8. Brandon DOI says:

    Roy Hibbert just got lucky that dwight howard is injured. If dwight howard is there. U wont see roy hibbert easily scoring or getting all those rebound. Dwight Howard would just own own him and push him around like a rag doll !

    • MackDaddy says:

      yeah yeah…. dwight would do this, dwight would do that.

      but the simple fact is, dwight didnt do anything.

      well done to hibbert- playing just like the team needs him to.

  9. dattebayo says:

    Roy Hibbert went 8-10 for 18 points, had 10 rebounds a steal and 3 blocks playing 28 minutes, he had 3 personal fouls and 3 turnovers. He was guarded by Glen Davis and Ryan Anderson, both undersized against the 7-2 Hibbert who made the Allstar Team this season. In the previous games he had 13 rebounds each and 9 and 2 blocked shots respectively.

    Am I missing something here or do we now call an Allstar Center having a solid night offensively against undersized players and no double teams an eruption?

    It’s a good statsline but this was neither an eruption nor something to feel particularly proud of. If Roy Hibbert can’t do that every game against undersized players, maybe he isn’t the Allstar people think of…

  10. Man nba tv blocked it from me watching it agian second game in a row we the pacers on tnt, but good for the pacers winning on the road is good in the playoffs.