By Sekou Smith, NBA.com
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — He’s all anyone wanted to talk about today, the big man from Washington D.C.
And I’m not talking about Kevin Durant, crowned as the KIA MVP Tuesday and beloved around the world after his acceptance speech went viral in the minutes and hours after the ceremony.
No, I’m talking about Indiana Pacers All-Star center Roy Hibbert.
We’ve dissected his performance in this postseason a million different way in just two weeks. Will he bounce back tonight and find his way? Or do we get more of the zeros across the board from him?
We shall see …
24 – Yes, I’m cheating right now. But I always like to see what my man Serge Ibaka is wearing to the arena. And I’ve got to give it up, this cat has some style …
OK, back to Game 1 Wizards @ Pacers …
23 – This has to be considered a good sign. A little closer to the basket maybe big fella?
22 – This Mark Jackson-Warriors saga is not going to fade into the background folks. Not with Jackson wasting little time in telling his version of how things came apart (via our NBA TV colleagues Rick Fox and Jared Greenberg on SiriusXM NBA Radio). It’s deep stuff, much deeper than anyone probably expected so soon after Jackson was fired. Speaking of soon, the Warriors reportedly did not waste any time trying to locate Jackson’s successor. TNT’s Steve Kerr is that man. The only question that remains is will he go with the Warriors or the Knicks? If it’s the Warriors he’ll have to win over a roster that worked its tail off for Jackson …
21 – You wonder how the Pacers’ faithful will respond tonight. Will they make the place unbearable for the Wizards. Will they throw back to their Market Square Arena days when …
Very scant crowd here at BLF seconds before the national anthem.—
Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) May 07, 2014
20 – If inspiration is what Hibbert was looking for, he might have found it in his college coach John Thompson III. JTIII sat courtside, giving the big fella the same looks he did when he helped mold him into a player at Georgetown. It worked. Hibbert started the game with a 5-0 solo run and sparked the Pacers early as they took an early 13-5 start …
Georgetown Coach John Thompson III in the building. Here for former Hoyas Roy Hibbert & Otto Porter. Had same number of pts & rebs in Game 1—
Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) May 07, 2014
19 – Marcin Gortat is not impressed with Hibbert’s work. In fact, he’s ready to stake his claim to the title of the best big man in this series. And with Nene (who’d also like to run for that best big man office) in the locker room after injuring his left ankle and Hibbert on the bench after that hot start, Gortat might have a solid case.
He’s certainly got the best dunk, so far, of the game.
Here comes Nene …
Hibbert still hot, he’s got 11 points with a little more than five minutes to play before halftime …
Hibbert's drawing whistles, beaming as skidload of pressure lifts from him. But his team's down 35-33, 5:57 2Q..—
Steve Aschburner (@AschNBA) May 07, 2014
Maybe Hibbert is wearing a throwback jersey — to last season's playoffs.—
Mark Montieth (@MarkMontieth) May 07, 2014
18 – Spit the seeds out. The more I watch these two teams play, the more convinced I am the Wizards, and not the Pacers, are simply the better team. For all the work Hibbert did in the first half, the Pacers had to abandon their usual ways and make it a point to involve the biggest man on the floor. It’s a desperate recipe Pacers coach Frank Vogel is working from and I’m not sure it’s going to work in this game or this series. The Wizards, meanwhile, are playing the same way they have all season and just flowing (and up 45-43 at the half) …
– dispatch from LA: Clippers coach Doc Rivers working the crowd during his pregame media availability session. Don’t poke the MVP bear Doc …
Doc said Clippers will be on the court when KD gets his MVP: "It won't be long unless Kevin gives a long speech and thanks all the fans."—
Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) May 08, 2014
17 — These signs of life from the Pacers are encouraging. Glimpses of the team we thought they were at 33-8 are suddenly popping up on both ends of the floor. Hibbert’s been fantastic (24 points through the third quarter). Paul George (six points) has to have a big fourth quarter for the Pacers to pull away. But he can’t shake Trevor Ariza …
Paul Geroge has 6 points. Part of that is the Hibbert factor. Part of it is Ariza playing defense as if his life depends on it.—
Jason Reid (@JReidPost) May 08, 2014
At some point, the narrative in this series will change from "struggling Pacers" to "surging Wizards."—
Shandel Richardson (@ShandelRich) May 08, 2014
16 – When you’re bad it can get nasty, but when you’re good …
Hibbert's numbers updated
So far tonight: 28 points, 10/13 FGAs, 33:29 of play
Prior 8 Games Combined: 37 points, 16/45 FGAs, 170 mins—
NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) May 08, 2014
15 – If the Pacers hold on here, Hibbert’s trip to the interview room could be epic …
14 — Big fella balled out, to the tune of 28 (on 10-for-13 shooting), nine and two blocks. And the Pacers win. All of this after that fishing trip with PGeorge and GHill … Tied at 1-1 headed to D.C.
Moral of the story is fishing solves everything.—
Jonah Ballow (@jonahballow) May 08, 2014
13 – Sorry, but I couldn’t help it. Just one more …
– Quick hug for Moms (Wanda Pratt) …
12 – Best way for the Thunder to deal with Chris Paul? Send him to the bench with those early fouls. Russell Westbrook in attack mode from the start …
Clippers need to slow down the rest of the quarter w/out CP3 or they'll get run outta here.—
J.A. Adande (@jadande) May 08, 2014
The beauty of playing in OKC is that if you suck you can blame it on the haunted hotel you're staying at which isn't really haunted.—
Kam Pashai (@kampashai) May 08, 2014
Someone forgot to tell J.J. Redick …
JJ Redick is a metaphysical manbeast, mystifying the masses with mesmerizing, moneyball 3s!—
Not Bill Walton (@NotBillWalton) May 08, 2014
11 – The MVP with 17 points in the first quarter, one point shy of his playoff career-high for a quarter. You had to know he was going to come out smoking after all that’s gone on the past 24-plus hours and the stars (Jay-Z in OKC) turning up in OKC for the show …
Not often Jimmy Goldstein is just 'that guy next to someone' at a game, but tonight in OKC that someone is Jay-Z, so…—
Sam Amick (@sam_amick) May 08, 2014
How many dudes Kevin Durant's height have ever handled the ball as well as him? How many that tall shot it so well?—
Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) May 08, 2014
10 – Ah, another night Chesapeake Energy Arena wondering who’s going to show up, Good Russ or Bad Russ? So far, so Good …
9 – There’s a lot of bad acting and flat-out trickery going on tonight. Cp3, Westbrook and even the MVP getting in on the fun. The officials can’t win, whether they blow the whistles or not someone is going to be furious with them. And everybody sees it through their own lens …
WHAT. A. SCREEN. The MVP got leveled. LeBron would have gotten that call.—
exhoopsprguy (@exhoopsPRguy) May 08, 2014
Durant's best acting since "Thunderstruck."—
Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) May 08, 2014
KD, that wasn't a foul. You just ran into him too hard.—
Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) May 08, 2014
8 – The definition of an MVP …
The Clippers have been outscored by 17 points in the 8 minutes Chris Paul has spent on the bench.—
Kevin Pelton (@kpelton) May 08, 2014
7 – Lights go down just before halftime. Weather related? Still have to finish these finals 27 seconds and change, right …
Going right to the source…with lights suddenly dimmed in arena, CP3 goes over to Adam Silver and asks if they can finish half..they will.—
Bill Plaschke (@BillPlaschke) May 08, 2014
6 – Westbrook with the quick hands on defense and in the passing lanes. He’s finishing at the rim (the nasty where Blake Griffin didn’t even bother jumping) and turning things upside down for the Clippers, who can’t scramble fast enough to cover on the defensive end.
Doc apparently noticed what we all did, that there wasn't a Clippers defender in the picture on Thunder's last two baskets.—
Brian Mahoney (@briancmahoney) May 08, 2014
5 – Things spiraling dangerously out of control right now for the Clippers. Westbrook doing his #forceofnature thing right now, too. Wicked!
I've run out of words to describe what Russell Westbrook is doing tonight folks. Just sit back and enjoy the show. This is incredible.—
Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) May 08, 2014
On the flip side, Blake has been alarmingly disengaged tonight. So you knew this was coming …
paging Blake Griffin.—
Danyel Smith (@danamo) May 08, 2014
4 – The biggest game changer for the Thunder tonight wasn’t just Westbrook going off, or even Thabo Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins turning into factors. It was Steven Adams adding the physical thump needed for the Thunder to make sure this series goes to Los Angeles tied up at 1-1.
Kiwi Laimbeer? Bill Laimkiwi? Kiwi Laimkiwi?—
Jon Hartzell (@hartzellNBA) May 08, 2014
3 – Leave it up to Westbrook to crash (in a good way, though) Durant’s MVP party. The rest of the world doesn’t get how they co-exist. But they make it work … #chasingadoubletripledouble #neverhappenedbefore …
– Still hasn’t happened. Westbrook got his (although with a controversial 10th assist), while the MVP went to the bench one assist shy of the triple-double.
Great game from Westbrook tonight. That wasn't even close to an assist tho haha—
Gary Payton (@GaryPayton_20) May 08, 2014
2 – It’s been that kind of night for CP3! And Doc has to know it’s “turrible” …
Chris Paul gets a T on the bench. Doc letting the refs have it. "That's terrible!"—
Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) May 08, 2014
1 – The MVP, RussWest and the Thunder finish the business in style …