Paul George’s soaring slam over Chris Andersen is going to lead off SportsCenter highlights for the next couple of days. He joined Inside The NBA and in his postgame press conference, Frank Vogel was effusive in his praise of George.
“I can’t believe how this kid keeps growing, growing and growing,” a beaming Vogel told the media throng. However, it was the gentle giant in the paint that carried the Pacers for three quarters until George picked up the pace.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade brought the Heat within reach of a 2-0 series lead, but Indiana rested underneath some 7-2 shade. James and George got marquee billing for Game 2, but the Bosh and Hibbert undercard is becoming the bout to watch. Unless the Pacquiao-Bradley judges were ruling, Hibbert has Bosh on the ropes after two rounds.
After the Knicks series, Hibbert’s omnipresent defensive presence got all the love from the national media. Additionally, before this series with the Heat, he had James practicing floaters to loft over Hibbert’s outstretched arms. In the 48 hours following Game 1, his inability to defend Bosh on the perimeter was water cooler talk.
Even though Hibbert didn’t record a single block in Game 2, there was no question that he’d be on the floor in the final minute.
Defensively, Hibbert looked like a fish out of water defending Bosh on the perimeter and he was late closing out on Bosh, but he drowned the 6-10 Bosh underneath his rim-high armpits down the stretch. 29 points and 10 boards later, the Pacers have tied the series.
When the Pacers needed someone to bail them out in the fourth, Hibbert came through with the check. His hook shot in the post before the shot clock expired with less than two minutes remaining tied the game at 91.
In two games, Hibbert has 48 points and 19 rebounds. The series is 1-1, but Indiana looks like the better team and Hibbert is baffling Miami’s interior defense.
On Thursday, Vogel implied that the Heat devised a better strategy for Hibbert than the Knicks. He may have spoke too soon. Paul George is getting the shine and earning acclaim, but so far Hibbert is winning Indiana the series.