Frustrations ran high in the Pacers locker room after Indiana was soundly beaten at home, 102-96, by the Wizards in one of those games that was less close than the final score indicates. Roy Hibbert and his Club Trillion-esque stat line (0 points, 0 rebounds) made for an easy scapegoat. After the game, David West was asked about Hibbert’s struggles.
“We just gotta keep encouraging him,” West said at the 1:10-mark of the video above. “He’s gotta be a part of the fight. He’s gotta be a part of this thing for us to go anywhere.”
Paul George expressed similar sentiments:
Paul George on Hibbert: "We’re at the point where we really need Roy and we need him now."—
Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) May 06, 2014
For his part, Hibbert didn’t shy away from the criticism:
Hibbert: "I got to come out and be aggressive. I got to be a different Roy Hibbert than I have been."—
Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) May 06, 2014
As Tim Ryan noted in the post about Gilbert Arenas and Tracy McGrady ruthlessly crushing Hibbert, a lot of the criticism has now reached an inflection point where it’s gone from funny to mean. Hibbert seems like a nice enough guy — though he can be whiny — and one would hope he turns his game around at least a little bit before his season’s said and done.
It’s worth noting that the Pacers were similarly written off after dropping Game 1 against Atlanta last round, but the Wizards will be more difficult to turn it around against. It’s not entirely impossible, but they’ll need Hibbert (and the rest of the team — Paul George shot 4-17 last night) to play better. (Obviously.)
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