Yesterday, Avi Friedman gave a good rundown of why it is imperative for Roy Hibbert to stay out of foul trouble tonight — and in any other game in this series the Pacers plan to win. When he is out, it changes the game. LeBron and D-Wade are able to drive into the paint much easier and the Pacers whole defensive strategy devolves from there.
As noted by ESPN Stats & Info, it’s no surprise that Miami has won both of the games so far in this series that have included foul trouble for Hibbert.
In the second half of Game 1, Hibbert sat for 11 minutes, 25 seconds spanning the third and fourth quarters, which is one reason the Heat outscored the Pacers by 14 points on field goals less than five feet from the basket in the second half.
Overall in Game 1, the Heat outscored the Pacers, 40-22, inside of five feet from the hoop.
In Game 4, the Pacers were minus-8 with Hibbert off the court, and minus-5 in rebound differential. With Hibbert on the bench from the 5:03 left in the third quarter until 6:11 left in the fourth, the Heat made seven field goals — including six within 12 feet of the basket (three each by Dwyane Wade and LeBron James).Even without an inside scorer, the Heat have attacked the basket when Hibbert has been out of the game.
During the regular season, the Heat shot 62.3 percent on field goals less than 5 feet from the basket, which ranked fourth in the NBA (league average was 59.5).
With Hibbert on the floor, Miami’s field goal percentage inside of 5 feet drops to 51.7; however, with Hibbert on the bench, that percentage shoots up to 64.6. What’s more, the Heat attempt more than 42 percent of their shots inside of 5 feet when Hibbert is off the court, compared to less than 30 percent when Hibbert is playing.
Read Avi’s piece for a more detailed analysis, but those numbers make it pretty obvious that the Pacers need Roy Hibbert in the paint if they plan to have their best chance to win Game 5.