May 7, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (55) dunks against Washington Wizards forward Drew Gooden (90) in game two of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats Washington 86-82. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Roy Hibbert Shows up in a Big Way in Game 2 Win

On Wednesday night, redemption was spelled R-O-Y.

The big fella had 28 points, 9 rebounds, and generally looked like a basketball player in Game 2’s 86-82 Pacer’s win.

After being the butt of a lot of jokes,  Hibbert responded with his highest scoring game of the season.

How’d he do it? Simply by being engaged and active. The Pacers probably planned on trying to get him jump started, but he made it worth their while from the opening tip.

Hibbert’s first shot was a buzzer beater, but when he converted the And-1 to give Indiana a 5-0 lead, you started to wonder if maybe, just maybe, Roy was going to show up for Game 2. The trend continued with him going to his version of a skyhook. Nene looked to be no match for Hibbert as he scored again to let us know he’d be showing up for Game 2.

One of the reason’s he was able to score so well was you’d see him moving without the ball to get into space to score. It wasn’t as if the Wizards forgot about him; Hibbert was 8 of 10 on contested shots. On several plays it was Hibbert looking for space and taking advantage of his defender playing help defense on someone else. At least four of his points directly came from him and his teammates seeing an opening and taking it.

Hibbert went 10 of 13 shooting on the night, taking Gortat for 4 of 5 while going 3 of 5 against Nene. Roy took two bad shots, but made the Wizards pay on every other one 28 points and a +16 +/- on the evening. Hibbert was one rebound away from a double-double.

Roy was much more engaged than he had been for quite some time. He was doing the small things as well as he put himself in position to make plays on offense.  Roy had 47 touches on the night, much more in line with his regular season numbers, and much more like the regular season, he was clearly a positive factor.

Consider the fact he had 37 points in eight playoff games before this, 4.6 points a game in the playoffs. He finally showed up.

Now why all this happened in Game 2 is certainly up for debate. It could have been Rasual Butler and David West sitting down with Hibbert. It could have been Bynum’s departure. Possibly the fishing trip with Paul George. Maybe it was the hippity-hoppity music the Pacers listened to before the game. Perhaps the Starters’ motivational tips? Who knows, maybe he just remembered he was good at basketball and got his head back in the game. Doesn’t really matter. He was in a zone on Wednesday night.

If he stays there… we’ll see in Game 3.

(For video highlights, click here.)

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