Don’t poke the bear, Wizards fans.
Actually, you may well not get another chance to poke the Pacers because one of your own, a heckler, got under Roy Hibbert’s skin in Game 4 and motivated his game.
For the better part of three quarters on Sunday Hibbert was a non-factor and the Wizards had a comfortable 14 point lead. Then in the final 3:35 of the third quarter Hibbert scored 9 of the Wizards next 11 points and sparked a run that made it a game again. A game the Pacers ultimately won to take a 3-1 lead.
What happened? Hibbert used a heckler as motivation, he told Ben Standig at CSNWashington.com.
“He woke me up,” Hibbert said in the Pacers locker room. “He said I was tired. He was saying a lot of obscenities. I’m a God fearing man so I’m not going into saying what he was saying…He got me going and I let him hear [me].”
How much of that is true and how much of that was just Hibbert feeling more comfortable and finding his groove is up to you to decide.
A whole lot of NBA players use what people say about them as motivation — author Roland Lazenby recently said on the PBT Podcast Michael Jordan used to make stuff up then get mad about it to motivate himself. Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and others operate in pretty much in that same mold.
Maybe some Pacers fans should heckle Hibbert before Game 5, just to make sure he’s ready to go and the Pacers got a win.
Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.
Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.
Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.