If I would have wrote that the Indiana Pacers would have two less win than the Miami Heat 15 games into the season before the year started, I would have been laughed at and not too many people would have taken me seriously. However, it’s the truth. Indiana is one of the biggest surprises in the NBA this season early on and Roy Hibbert is one of the biggest reasons that the Pacers are 8-7 with impressive wins over teams like Miami and Los Angeles.
After a disappointing season last year, Hibbert has emerged as one of the most improved players in the league in just his third year in the NBA. Hibbert’s numbers are up across the board and he’s nearly averaging a double-double this season. Just the other night, Hibbert might’ve played his best game of the season and he did it against one of the game’s best centers, Pau Gasol.
Roy Hibbert joined 1070 the Fan in Indianapolis with JMV to talk about the win the other night against the Lakers, whether he was looking forward to a matchup against one of the best centers in the NBA, what the difference has been for them this year, and whether or not he feels like his hard work in the offseason is paying off.
On the win against Los Angeles:
“It was a good win for us. We really played well together down the stretch. We tried to limit our mistakes and defensively the perimeter players did a good job of making Kobe (Bryant) take tough shots and he made tough shots.”
On whether he was more fired up to play against the Lakers and Pau Gasol:
“I just wanted to go out there and play strong. It started kinda rocky there with a turnover, but I just wanted to go out there and made sure I tried to dunk the ball whenever I could and not lay up anything soft. I think he probably just had an off night. He’s been playing extremely well throughout the season. MVP type of basketball. That’s the kind of basketball he’s been playing the last couple of weeks. He had an off night and we capitalized on that.”
On the difference between this year and last year for Indiana:
“It really came down to our defense. Defense wins games and we finally became tied together. Offensively we know that we can score and put points on the board, but defensively we’ve been really in sync.”
On his hard work paying off:
“I think it is because Josh McRoberts told me this is what we worked for all summer. Why we pushed each other so hard to be able to come down to these stretches in the game where we cant be tired. I’m seeing it pay off.”
On making sure they don’t have a let down against Sacramento after a big win against Los Angeles:
“Sacramento is gonna be a game for us, just as much as Cleveland was coming after we beat Miami. We’re gonna have to come out there and play strong. We can beat anybody and we can lose to anybody as well.”