Hard not to chuckle when you look at this picture and see the expressions on the faces of Roy Hibbert and Pau Gasol. I also enjoyed the shot because of what happened in the game around the funny image.
For a little context, this picture was taken in the second half with Roy Hibbert in attack mode. I know it doesn't look like it, but the photo captures Hibby just after he caught the ball on the right-side high post. With Pau Gasol coming out to cover him, Hibbert had a half-step on Gasol and decided to take the ball strong into the lane.
After his first dribble, though, Hibby slipped and instantly went down in a heap like a giraffe on an ice rink. Somehow he maintained possession of the ball and was able to get it to T.J. Ford who missed a jumper, but not turning it over for an easy bucket the other way was a win. Then on the very next possession, Hibbert caught the ball in about the same spot but on the left side. Without hesitation, he pulled the trigger and drained a 19-footer to keep the Pacers flowing with a double-digit lead.
No shame in his game, just let the past play go and keep working to be ready for the next play. Those are little signs of growth in Hibbert's game that continue to show up. There have been setbacks and poor finishes to games by the big fella in at times this year, but for every step back he seems to take two steps forward.
After the jump, more on Hibbert's growth along with his comments from an interview with JMV on Monday.
It all comes back to working hard and never being too cool to work hard or fail while trying. Hibbert chatted with JMV on Monday afternoon and made an interesting comment when asked if all of the summer work he went through is showing up in his late-game conditioning.
Josh McRobertstold me, this is what we worked for all summer, why we pushed each other so hard is to be able to come down to these stretches toward the end of the game where we can't be tired. So I think it'll pay off and hopefully we can keep growing and I can keep growing.
Hibbert reveals another benefit of working with teammates during the offseason instead of on your own program. The trust in one another is that much stronger because each knows the other guy has put in the work and is ready to go. Surely they pushed each other for extra reps during the summer, so they're comfortable pushing each other to finish games strong.
Both McRoberts and Hibbert have shown they can physically handle the game and while both made big plays last night against the Lakers, they've hardly arrived. That was merely a step in the process of maturing as players. Certainly it should provide a big confidence boost, but both will likely remain inconsistent as they play through all kinds of crazy, crunch-time scenarios. As long as they keep growing, to use Roy's words, it should be fun to watch