Hibbert On the Momentum Shift; Injuries Growing
CHICAGO — Roy Hibbert’s feelings aren’t too difficult to interpret following games. Just look at his body language. He wears his emotions on his sleeve more than any other Pacer, for better or worse. As he sat at his chair, jersey untucked and looking at his phone, it was clear that the big guy wasn’t happy.
He knew they should have won it, giving the Pacers a sweep of the season series and even more importantly, another win in their quest for the second seed in the East. For the second game in a row, Hibbert shared his feelings on twitter for all to see after exiting the arena.
“We should have won this damn game,” he wrote. “I am not happy with our performance towards the end of the game. Myself included. Have to be better.”
More than anything, Hibbert was extremely disappointed with how the Pacers ended the third quarter. After Paul George missed a 3-pointer, Daequan Cook grabbed the rebound, went the length of the court, and laid it in to give the Bulls their first lead since 6-4.
“That play at the end of the third quarter really shifted the balance and then they had a spark going into the fourth,” Hibbert said. They were really playing well.”
The Pacers never led again – and fell 87-84.
Liked It, but No Good
For how poor they shot the ball in the fourth, just 20 percent, they still had a chance with 15.1 seconds to play. They ran a play – Hill dribbled to the baseline line then fired the ball to George in the left corner – that’s been executed in practice numerous times. Coach Vogel liked the look from Paul George but it just didn’t drop.
“Great execution,” Vogel said “Got a good look. Sometimes, the ball doesn’t go down. I’ll take that look any day of the week with that shooter.”
George led all scorers with 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting inside the arc. His problem was from long-distance, where he went 1-for-6.
“I’m not a guy that has a hard time shooting over defenders,” Geroge said. “Both shots felt very comfortable to me. It just wasn’t my night … I couldn’t get it going from behind the 3-point line.”
As George described what happened while sitting at his locker, his left hand was wrapped in ice. He said two fingers got caught as he went around a screen three or four games ago and it’s been irritating. That might partially explain his misses, but he didn’t use it as an excuse.
Also of note: George Hill played through a strained groin. Between the third and fourth quarters, he received treatment and was late returning to the floor, causing Vogel to start D.J. Augustin. Once Hill returned to the bench, Vogel motioned for him to check back in. Hill scored more than half of the team’s points in the quarter, nine of 17, including two big threes, which cut the Bulls’ lead to three.
I waited around in the locker room for quite a while after the game but he remained back in the training area. He’s dealt with with a hip-pointer and thigh contusion previously this season.
With 12 games remaining until the playoffs, the Pacers have to be a bit concerned with at least four key players hampered by injuries. David West missed his fourth-straight game because of a sore back and Danny Granger (knee) remains out, though he increased his activity level in the last week.