Hibbert On The Bench?
Frank Vogel is a very good coach, but he made a very bad decision last night during overtime. Regardless of who the opponent is, it's always important to have a big man in the middle who can not only block shots, but change shot selection. Hibbert will never average even four blocks a game, but opposing players think twice about driving the lane against a good shot blocker and even if they do get into the paint, they're often forced to take a difficult shot to get around or over the defender.
Everybody knows that LeBron James can get to the basket with ease but his jump shot can be shaky or streaky at times so having a shot blocker in the paint is even more important against the Heat.
In Game 1, Miami shot 80.7% from inside five feet when Roy Hibbert was on bench. Miami shot 50% from inside five feet when Hibbert was in.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) May 23, 2013
Defending LeBron James is difficult, but it's not impossible if you play it smart and by the percentages. This season James shot 76% on shots at the rim compared to 41% on shots between 10 to 16 feet away from the basket. Also this season James shot 98% on dunks and 69% on layups, compared to just 42% on jump shots. He's a great player, but it's no secret that your best chance to beat him, is to force him to take a jump shot from the mid-range and beyond.
Vogel is a good coach, but having Hibbert in the game to either alter the shot from James or to possibly make James settle for a jump shot could have won the game for the Pacers. Vogel isn't the only one to blame though, Paul George needs to play back more to keep LeBron in front of him. I like aggressive defense, but you have to be smart. The smart play in that situation was to play back a little and make sure no matter what that James didn't get past you with a lane to the basket.
The Pacers are good enough to win this series, but you can't blow games like that and expect to pull of the upset.