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Hibbert leads Pacers past Wizards, 86-82, in Game 2


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BY MICHAEL MAROT
AP SPORTS WRITER

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Roy Hibbert broke out of his playoff funk with a season-best 28 points and nine rebounds, leading the Indiana Pacers to an 86-82 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night that tied the Eastern Conference semifinals at 1-1.

It was a stark contrast to Hibbert's abysmal, scoreless showing in Monday night's loss - and most of this year's playoffs.

But after hearing 48 hours of constant criticism and continual questions, Hibbert responded with the kind of game Indiana desperately needed. He made his first four shots, dominated the middle and produced big basket after big basket.

Game 3 is Friday in Washington.

Marcin Gortat had 21 points and Bradley Beal added 17 for the Wizards.

Washington took a 77-74 lead with 5:01 left in the game. Indiana scored six straight and never trailed again.

Washington had won all four of its previous road playoff games - three at Chicago and Monday night in Indy.

But Hibbert refused to let it happen again Wednesday.

He scored the first five points, blocked two shots and altered a handful of others on a night Indiana needed every contribution he could give.

Hibbert's one-handed dunk cut the deficit to one with 7:57 left, and it was a nifty stop-and-go layup that got the Pacers within 77-76 three minutes later. That basket ignited the decisive spurt.

Paul George's steal on the ensuing possession led to a George Hill layup that gave Indiana a 78-77 lead and Hibbert's inside presence opened the lane for George to drive for a two-handed dunk to give the Pacers an 80-77 lead.

All the Wizards could muster after that was an alley-oop layup by Gortat and a long 3-pointer from Beal that got the Wizards within 84-82 with 11 seconds to play.

But David West made two free throws and Hibbert, fittingly, grabbed the final rebound of the game to seal the win.

Hibbert, who had become the biggest target of jokesters and ex-NBA players, wasted no time trying to change his image. After finishing with no points and no rebounds for the second time in four playoff games, the 7-foot-2 All-Star opened the game with a 17-footer and a three-point play.

Washington survived that opening flurry, tying the score at 23 after one quarter, then taking the lead and holding it for most of the second.

The Wizards pulled out to a six-point lead early in the third, but Indiana used a 15-3 spurt to turn a 53-48 deficit into a 63-56 lead with 3:55 to go.

Washington steadily closed the gap, getting within 68-64 at the end of three, tying the score at 69 when Drew Gooden made 1 of 2 free throws with 9:56 to go and retaking a 71-69 the lead on Nene's 20-foot jumper with 9:10 left. The Wizards went up 77-74 on Beal's 15-foot pullup jumper with 5:01 to play, but Hibbert and George answered with the six straight points and the Pacers held on.

Notes: Hibbert was 10 of 13 from the field and made all eight of his free throw attempts. ... Nene went to the locker room in the first quarter after apparently hurting his left leg or ankle but returned early in the second and finished with 14 points. ... George Hill had 14 points for the Pacers, who limited Washington to 5 of 21 on 3-pointers.

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jbaer10314 May 08 2014 at 9:39 AM

Big deal. Hibbert will be traded during the off-season because of this slump. What a waste...

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bmvclady jbaer10314 May 08 2014 at 9:52 AM

no he will not be traded.

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the.fact bmvclady May 08 2014 at 10:26 AM

You're fooling yourself if you don't think he won't be traded. He gets paid over $14.28M this year and to have 0 points and 0 rebounds during the post season is unacceptable. I cannot think of one star player that gets paid that much that had 0 points and 0 rebounds during the playoffs. What a bum.

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pscottparker10231955 May 08 2014 at 1:12 AM

Happy for the big man. Keep it going!!!!!!!!!!!!

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theavenging1 pscottparker10231955 May 08 2014 at 8:01 AM

Indiana isn't going to do anything. The big man only got lucky. Gortat (Wizards) is going to embarass them in the next game.

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2 replies
bmvclady theavenging1 May 08 2014 at 9:54 AM

We will see. Pacers will play together.

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the.fact theavenging1 May 08 2014 at 10:27 AM

The Pacers are not going to get passed the Wizards, period. You can take that to the bank.

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THE BIG O.G. May 08 2014 at 5:01 AM

Now Hibbert got something to prove each time he goes out there on the court.

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vernsmaria May 08 2014 at 11:37 AM

One good game doesn't mean he's out of his slump. Lets see how he is in the next game in Washington.

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