As mentioned on his report card, Roy Hibbert often looked like a man among boys last night against the Hawks lineup. As Bret LaGree of the Hawks blog Hoopinion noted, this was in part due to the fact that Al Horford left the game early with an injury. He wrote that, in the third quarter, with Jason Collins starting at center in the play of Horford, “the Pacers ran the Hawks out of the gym, partially on the basis of Hibbert not having to worry about Collins and being free to protect the rim.”
Of course, there was a reason Horford left the game. And it was due to his shoulder getting banged up when Hibbert and Paul George sent a tag-team swat team after two of his shot attempts.
The result was the easily the best Pacers sequence so far this young season. Horford gets swatted, regathers and gets swatted again. Vlad Rad picks up the loose ball and gets his attempt block nearly before it even leaves his hands.
Then it’s off to the races the other way as Paul George adeptly leads a break, but slows it down rather than forcing a drive (perhaps due to the fact that he, not so surprisingly, almost lost his dribble). He finds a posting Hibbert, who had hustled down the court and looks poised to a make a move. But instead sees a wide-open David West cutting through the lane for to turn the Indiana power-play (Horford was lying on the floor at the other end) into a dunk.
Ball movement city.
* UPDATE: Didn’t know about the severity of Al’s injury when originally posting. In the grand scheme of things, this play really sucks. Al Horford tore his left pec during the exchange and will now be out up to 4 months. Crappy, crappy stuff. No insensitivity intended. Was unaware.