Pacers coach Frank Vogel had his reasoning — the Heat with their small lineup had five guys who can shoot from the perimeter so he wanted to match that with a small lineup that could switch everything. Twice in the last 10.8 seconds he pulled the 7’2” rim-defending center and went small with Tyler Hansbrough and Sam Young.
Twice, LeBron James got to the rim for lay-ups. And now Miami is up 1-0 in the series.
Speaking at his locker after the game, Hibbert said he is not going sit quietly next time the coach suggests he sit at a key moment, he told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
“I’ve grown as a player, this is my fifth year and maybe I need to start talking up more,” Hibbert told Yahoo! Sports in the losing locker room. “They pay me [max-contract money] for a reason.
“I didn’t say anything, and I wish I did. From now on, I need to speak up.”
Vogel simply overthought this. Hibbert has flaws defensively and part of Indiana’s system is built to hide those while playing to his strengths near the rim. Miami can make that difficult because even their center Chris Bosh can knock down an 18-footer consistently.
Coaches too often focus on what a player can’t do and overlook what they can do well — Hibbert might well have gotten exposed on a switch and let Bosh get a good look at a midrange jumper — but if he had been in Sam Young’s spot on the floor he would have recovered in time to at least make LeBron alter his final shot. And obviously even an open Bosh jumper is a LeBron lay-up.
Hibbert knows that, too. And he learned a hard lesson about speaking up when it’s time.