Roy Hibbert Must Stay Out of Foul Trouble

In the Orlando series, Roy Hibbert became a defensive anchor for the Pacers in the paint. This hasn’t changed against the Heat. He is, however, getting into foul trouble much quicker in the second round. In just four games he already has 16 personal fouls as opposed to 17 in his five games against the Magic. This doesn’t really come as a huge surprise considering the Heat’s ability to draw fouls; they are 2nd in the NBA’s postseason so far, drawing 29.5 a game.

But for the Heat, which were only 8th during the regular season drawing 24.2 a game, this is a significant jump. LeBron seems to have stopped settling for jump shots and is being much more aggressive than he was before the playoffs began. During the regular season he was only getting to the line 8.1 times a games as compared to 11.0 a game in the playoffs.

What this means for Roy Hibbert is that he’s going to need to be extra careful to not pick up fouls early on. In the past, fouling out was something he struggled with fairly consistently until he learnt to jump straight up. Against a team like the Heat, Roy is unlikely to get that benefit of jumping straight up.

In Game 4 when Roy got a personal foul against against Haslem with 2:51 left in the second. I was surprised to find out that it was only his first. I thought that the Pacers would be in great shape because the Pacers’ center would be able to stay on the floor longer than usual. But then Hibbert got another minutes later on what can only be considered a foolish decision to surrender a foul against a driving Dwyane Wade without even going for a shot block.

Then, after the half, Roy picked up another quick two fouls before the five-minute mark in the third quarter. His fourth foul — an offensive charge on Shane Battier — especially was one he has to be careful not to get himself into. Without him protecting the paint, Lebron and D-Wade started to take charge, and by the time Roy re-entered the game, it was (pretty much) too late to slow the pace.

I can’t stress how important Hibbert has been this series or why it’s so important for him to make sure he’s able to stay in the game.

Throughout game four whenever Roy Hibbert has been on the court, the Miami Heat have been outscored by 11.3 points (per 48 min). When he is on the bench, the Heat have scored 18.5 more points (per 48 min).

As if that stat alone doesn’t tell you how important Roy Hibbert is, there are many more.

Lou Amundson and Tyler Hansbrough have been struggling at doing there main jobs this postseason, which is rebounding.In the regular season, Lou grabbed 16.8% of all available rebounds, but that has dropped to 13.8% in his time on the court in the postseason. Tyler’s drop hasn’t been as precipitous, only falling from 11.3% in the regular season to 11.1% in the playoffs. But Hansbrough’s offensive rebounding has falled off a cliff, plummeting from 8.6% in the regular season to 6.0% in the postseason. Lou has been even worse in that regard, falling from an impressive offensive rebounding percentage of 14.1% over 753 regular-season minutes to a measly 7.6% in the playoffs.

To make matters worse, it’s offensive rebounds specifically that they are giving up. When Roy Hibbert has been in the game during the playoffs, the Pacers only give up 11.7 offensive rebounds per 48 minutes. When he sits, that number balloons 17.0.

In Game 4 when Roy Hibbert left the game the Pacers trailed by 1 point. Immediately when Roy left the game, LeBron and D-Wade started driving to the basket without hesitation. “Why would they be quicker to drive with Roy Hibbert off the floor?” you ask. How about because the Heat are shooting 52% from the restricted area (10% less than their avg) when Roy is on the floor compared to 65% when he’s on the bench.

Yeah, I’d say that’s a pretty damn good reason.

In Game 3 Roy Hibbert only had four fouls. His third came only with 3:28 left in the third quarter, and the fourth foul came after the game was already decided. The result? A Tim Duncan-like performance. Interestingly enough, after that game, Roy talked about his relationship with Tim and how he learns a lot from him. Roy said that he models his game after him, and I can definitely see the similarities so far. Aside from the fundamentals and footwork over flash approach they take to the game, they seem to have a similar demeanor (few emotions, cool headed, etc.).

While many might say that Danny Granger is the Pacers’ best offensive scorer or that David West is their most important offensive player, Roy Hibbert is their most important all around player. He is the key to slowing down LeBron and D-Wade; he is they key to defending the paint. Without Roy the Pacers would be struggling mightily in this series. If Roy Hibbert stay out of foul trouble and stay in the game, he has the potential to tip the series in Indiana’s favor.

Tags: Dwyane Wade LeBron James Lou Amundson Miami Heat Pacers Vs. Heat 2012 Playoffs Pacers Vs. Heat 2012 Playoffs: Game 4 Roy Hibbert Tyler Hansbrough

  • dwain

    i really see this as much a problem of defensive strategy as it is Roy’s foul problem. If Roy settles into the paint they draw him out with short jumpers or pick and roll set ups between Wade and LBJ or one of those two and whomever else is coring for them. Roy and to the same extent West are so slow footed that they are unable to close on a penetrating enemy fast enough to get in front of them. they are left to swipe at this penetrator as he goes by. They can’t move their feet fast enough to keep themselves from fouling by reach. Since Battier is pulling West to the 3 point line and Roy’s target also trys this, they are completely out of place to defend the paint and get rebounds. Until coach V comes up with a method that allows the Pacers to defend against the open 3(or allows it expecting to get a better result clogging the paint and keeping Miami from having any offensive rebounding, and just take the lumps open 3′s give us) and clog the paint with our slower footed big men, fouls will be a problem for our bigs because they will be catching up against attacks in the paint and reaching.
    As to the fouls Miami draws from our bigs in the paint defending against drives and layups, they will just have to pick their spots, try to draw charges and give weak side help to each other when the attackers come.Pacers have been very bad at weak side help in the paint, because they are slow footed(our bigs) and because Miami has most of there secondary players clearing out past the 3 point line to open the middle up.
    All this said Pacers will not win unless they concentrate on out rebounding Miami(any team) to limit second chances, and give our offense second chances.
    i agree with most of the points in this piece but i think foot speed of our bigs forces the onus on the coach to devise a better rebound first defense plan, rather than depend on the player to limit his fouls specificly, because the player(Roy, David) is going to play the defensive set up they are in to the best of their ability and as hard as they can, i think it has become obvious that Wade and LBJ scoring alone isn’t going to beat us…they have never outscored the whole Pacer team the whole game(second half maybe). coach needs to make a choice and set a defensive strategy that allows his team to out rebound first, score from the paint first(our scoring) and secondly try to limit 3 point scoring by Miami, and cut our players loose to do their best without limits.

  • Joe B

    Hibbert is the stop sign…when he is gone, you only have a yield…and who ever slows down for a yield?

  • Tom

    I tend to agree. Obviously it’s not up to me, but I would be clogging the paint a little more, and conceding the 3 if we had to. They have not shown any consistent ability to make the 3 at a high rate, while they are most effective from drives to the basket, or drive and dish plays (like to Haslem down the stretch). I’d rather be beat by Mario Chalmers (let him top score for them again) than by LeBron and Wade driving and getting us into foul trouble.
    Maybe some zone or match-up zone looks could be in order until they prove they can beat us with perimeter shooting. But we HAVE to keep Hibbert and West in the game so we can control the boards, and also have an advantage in the paint offensively, seeing as we haven’t exactly been lighting it up from downtown either.

  • Joe

    I don’t know… but I’m beginning to feel that it’s over. The reffing is starting to get fixed, now that it’s getting too close for comfort for stern the MORON and the Heat. The first half of the last game was okay, I had no complaints, but I started going nuts in the second half. That was Indiana, I’m petrified to see what crazy calls they’ll make tonight.

  • wait

    Other players of the Pacers have to step up to help Hibbert. if he has to defend Wade and James every time, he is going to get fouls. He can’t afford to sit out. Granger need to move quicker. Granger needs to make James work harder. Fast breaks will kill Miami quickly!

  • Jeremy Comstock

    I really think that it’s time for Fesenko to make an appearance. Amundson has not been effective and Fesenko has much more of what seems to be giving the Heat the most trouble: size. While Fesenko is not a great shot-blocker, he has been an extraordinary defensive presence in the past. Plus he’s got 6 fouls to use, and he has a history of making them count.

  • LeBron James

    darrrrrr me no like Danny Granger.
    derrrr he be a tough guy but he scare of LeBron!!!
    darrrrrrrrrrr me say he a stupid!

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