Gilbert Arenas won’t be making any jokes toward Roy Hibbert on his Instagram tonight.
After struggling in the first eight games of the playoffs, Hibbert played up to the standards placed on him this season, scoring a season-high 28 points to help his Indiana Pacers get the victory over the Washington Wizards. He also collected 9 rebounds and blocked 2 shots.
Since being drafted, Hibbert has never been a dominate offensive threat unless he’s playing the Miami Heat. But even he began to play below his usual standards, averaging 4.6 points and 3.3 rebounds during the 2014 playoffs. Even slacking on the defensive end, the All-Star center had become a liability, to the point where Ian Mahinmi was called upon to handle mismatches.
Hibbert’s 28 points is the most he’s scored since his 29 point, 10 rebound performance against the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the 2013 Eastern Conference finals. To put more emphasis and how well the big man played tonight in comparison to how he’s struggled this postseason, Hibbert’s 28 is more points than he’s scored over the last six games, one that included a 0-point, 0-rebound effort that brought along loads of criticism.
The Pacers can only hope that Hibbert becomes reliable over the course of this series. Even by scoring 28 points, the Pacers won by a small margin of four points. Likely to regress to the norm, or some kind of norm because it’s hard to guess which Hibbert will show up, teammates such as Paul George, Lance Stephenson, and David West will need to up their offensive output.
The Pacers and Wizards are tied 1-1 as the series heads to Washington for the next two games of the season.