Mahinmi to Start in Place of Suspended Hibbert
Pacers reserve center Ian Mahinmi will make his first start of the season tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers. Because of Roy Hibbert’s one-game suspension, handed down by the NBA on Wednesday for his part in an altercation during Tuesday’s game with Golden State, his streak comes to an end.
The durable Hibbert had been the only starter not to miss a game this season. In fact, he has started in all but one game he’s played in over the last three seasons.
“That’s why Ian is here,” Vogel said after morning shootaround. “We brought him here to have a second legitimate center. I think Ian Mahinmi is a starter on maybe half the teams in this league. To have him as your backup and be your insurance if you lose Roy for a game for whatever reason, hopefully we can carry through and not skip a beat.”
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Mahinmi has started 12 games in 206 career games that spans five seasons. Every one of his starts came last year while with Dallas.
“I like to keep my routine,” Mahinmi explained. “I always prepare myself the same way, whether I play 10 minutes or 30 minutes. Nothing really changes, except that I’m starting the game.”
Jeff Pendergraph, who had provided the team quality minutes recently but hasn’t seen the court in the last two games, will backup Mahinmi. Vogel said he also anticipates playing forwards David West and Tyler Hansbrough together.
One of biggest challenges that Mahinimi, or whoever is on the court at the time, will face is defending the Clippers’ pick-and-roll, which Vogel said might be the most challenging attack in the league. After practice yesterday and shootaround eight hours before tip-off, Mahinmi believes they are ready.
“It’s obviously a team concept. It’s not only two players, it has be the whole team. This morning we were locked in to what we’re trying to do so I’m pretty confident in our defense.”