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IC Cold Links: Hibbert Lost In The Playing-Time Shuffle But Not Forgotten

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Lost amidst the feel-good win last night were the minimal minutes afforded second-year center, Roy Hibbert.

OK, I'm joking.

After absorbing my email box and some of the game-thread and post-game comments, Hibbert's playing time or lack thereof, seems to have sullied the win for some and certainly wasn't lost on anyone. So let me lay things out.

Prior to the game, Jim O'Brien discussed his intention to start Hibbert not only in the game last night but every game in an attempt to establish an advantage in the post. Against the Raptors, Hibbert would start defensively on Chris Bosh since the game plan was to double-team Bosh whenever he touched the ball. Easier said than done.

On Toronto's first possession, Bosh quickly drew Hibbert away from the basket and then up in the air, neither a good thing for Roy. Just like that, Bosh was at the free throw line and Hibbert had his first foul. Defensive execution in the first half was bad all-around so JOB scrapped the Hibbert on Bosh attempt and went in another direction.

Now there were times later on when Hibbert could've played and  established something when Amir Johnson was in the game for Toronto. Why that didn't happen I have no idea. The Pacers did go through Hibbert on their first two possessions, the first of which ended in a strong baseline move from the big fella for a layup. But that was it for the night.

After the game, JOB had the win to deflect any issues with Hibbert's playing time, but he did mention his intent to use Hibbert in a "small" lineup that would have him playing alongside Danny Granger in the front court. That should be good news to those who've notice Hibbert's production decline while playing so much with Troy Murphy. Murphy by the way, was the right play last night, helping to spread the floor and keep the Pacers alive in the first half and finishing with 20 points and 16 rebounds. He even had a couple of blocked shots.

After the jump, tons of links from last night's win.