I know it is a long ways to go, but the Pacers proved last night they could actually match up against the Wizards. We finally saw a Roy Hibbert that had been absent the entire season scoring 28 points and propelling the Pacers to a Game 2 victory, 86-82.
Hibbert went into Wednesday with a combined total of 37 points and 24 rebounds in Indiana’s first eight playoff games. Twice in the previous four he failed to score a point or grab a rebound. His biggest supporters, the fans, called for his benching after his horrible performance in Game 1, which incidentally reminded us of how he played in his first two seasons at Georgetown.
“David (West) always talks to me about being the person that rescues yourself when you’re in the middle of the ocean,” Hibbert said after Indiana tied the best-of-seven series at 1-1. “There’s nobody who can throw a lifesaver or a rope out to help you. So I had to do it myself,” said Hibbert.
What was most notable was absence of John Wall’s offense tonight. His slump is starting to show how young of a player he really is and with luck some of the veterans will pick him back up for Game 3 at home on Friday. Wall finished the game with just 6 points on a 2 for 13 effort from the field and was also 0-4 from long range in possibly his worst outing of the season.
“It is just one game and I have a long way to go in this series. I have some work to do and know my teammates will be there to help me on Friday.
Marcin Gortat finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Bradley Beal had 17 points and Nene added 14.
The Wizards led by three points with 5:00 remaining on Wednesday, but they were outscored by seven points in the last 5 minutes. Through two games this series, the Wizards’ average shot distance in the final 5 minutes has been almost 5 feet farther from the basket, leaving Randy Wittman looking for a better way to get the ball into Gortat and Nene in the paint.
Washington is facing is first real match-up of multiple players that can put pressure on Nene and force Randy Wittman to use Drew Gooden off the bench to go up against Hibbert and David West. The Wizards had just 18 points off the bench tonight.