The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Pro Sports

May 6, 2014

Mike Lopresti: Fixing Hibbert a tall order


That's what everyone does with Hibbert now. They wonder. Seven-footers do not just disappear.

A section at Bankers Life Fieldhouse is called Area 55, a nod to his uniform number. At the moment, Area 55 has more mysteries than Area 51. That's the one supposedly with the UFOs.

Maybe that's it. Maybe the real Roy Hibbert has been abducted by aliens.

Saturday's Game 7 was a hint of revival, but that idea lasted only long enough to change socks and opponents. And so the Indiana Pacers we've come to know and be baffled by are in the soup again.

They have to have Game 2 against the Wizards, just like they had to have Game 2 against the Atlanta Hawks. But as David West noted, Washington is a better team.

The numbers from Monday night have made the rounds by now. No points, no rebounds for Hibbert in 17:43. Meanwhile, Washington's backup big man, Drew Gooden, played 17:47 with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

"You can't overreact to that," Vogel cautioned of all those Hibbert zeroes. "He is giving us something, despite what the box score looks like."

But that ratio won't keep Indiana alive. Neither will getting blown away on the boards by the 20th-ranked rebounding team in the NBA.

Neither will that defense. In two regular season trips to Indianapolis, the Wizards averaged 69.5 points. They scored 61 in the first and fourth quarters Monday.

There is an obvious need for more effort, more grit, more muscle.

And more Hibbert. Sigh.

"We're at the point where we really need Roy," George said. "And we need him now."

But who can find him?

The FBI?

The NSA?

The Ghostbusters?

Reports have West getting in his face. That ought to be enough to motivate anyone.

"I have faith that he's going to find himself," George said.

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