Here’s a stat line for you to take into consideration. I’m a 5’11, unfit man who lost his athleticism when he discovered his fondness for beverages of the alcoholic nature and I had the same amount of points and rebounds as a 7’2, 290lbs NBA center in last night’s Pacers vs. Wizards game. In all fairness I didn’t have any boards or points but neither did the 7’2, 290lbs NBA center who goes by Roy Hibbert.
Let’s get this straight; Hibbert’s confidence is at an all time low. But things like rebounds, they’re all about the effort. Yes some rebounds you have no chance to get but at 7’2 you should be able to pluck at least one board from the sky. Hibbert doesn’t need to worry about getting buckets, though when your heart isn’t in the game and you’re not giving your team or your teammates the effort that they deserve then there is something wrong.
This isn’t an Indiana Pacers bashing column but facts are facts, the effort isn’t there. Not just from Hibbert but from a few members. Apart from a run late on the Pacers were dead from the first few shots. The Pacers, known for their defense on 3 pointers, allowed Washington to launch and connect on their first two field goal attempts, which happened to be Trevor Ariza 3 pointers. The first few minutes of a game shouldn’t affect your overall effort in the game but when a team’s mind is as fragile as the Indiana pacers’ is then you are in for a long night. Trevor Ariza and Bradley Beal were routinely open last night for three, which led to Ariza going for a flawless 6-for-6 from downtown.
Speaking of a barrage of three pointers, we need look no further than last nights Thunder Clippers game. Chris Paul came out swinging last night, going for 8-of-9 on 3 pointers, amassing a total of 32 points and 10 assists for the game. This game was such a blowout that Paul sat out the entire fourth quarter to rest up for what will be a crucial game 2. Usually Paul doesn’t favour aggressively looking for is own shot but when you’re hot, you’re hot. Even Paul himself knew that this was out of the norm for him “that’s what I do, that’s what I do…that is a lie…this one definitely goes down in the history books for me. Don’t count on it for game 2’.
Paul knows that he really needs to make an imprint on these NBA playoffs having never been past the second round in the playoffs. Despite being arguably the best point guard in the NBA for the past several years, the closest Paul came was in 2008 when his New Orleans Hornets team lost at home to the Spurs in game 7. It could be argued that Chris Paul is the best player to never reach the conference finals and that’s something that does not and will not sit well with CP3 Paul understand that questions will be raised about his ability to lead a team past the conference finals. Though Paul went out of his way last night to put those questions on the back burner for some time.
Both these series are far from over, however the writing could be on the wall (no John Wall pun intended) for the Indiana Pacers if they don’t get their act together and if they don’t get their big man out of his own head. Kenny ‘the jet’ Smith said ‘that the best players have the shortest memories’, however it is clear to us all that every missed rebound, every missed shot and every made layup by the opposing team is weighing heavier on Roy Hibbert than that 7’2, 290lbs frame of his. In the Thunder Clippers game, the Thunder got an efficient night from its start players, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook but they need to get more from their support cast. Westbrook on Chris Paul: “He hit eight 3s. He wasn’t doing nothing crazy. He hit eight 3s.”, well Russell, that should scare you. If a man hits eight 3s and isn’t hitting some wild circus shots then there’s something your not doing right.
Aodán Mitchell, Pundit Arena.