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Indiana Pacers need to bench Roy Hibbert to win first round over Atlanta

The Indiana Pacers lost Game three of the first round to fall behind the eighth seeded Atlanta Hawks on Thursday. The 98-85 loss was a telling sign for the Pacers. With Game four looming, it is downright feasible that the NBA will have its fourth No.1 seed lose to an No.8 in the history of the first round playoffs.

Roy Hibbert working on jump hook
Photo by Kevin C. Cox

There are no easy answers for the Pacers in their present state, but one thing they need to do is play better. In a bad way, you never know who’s going to take the lead role offensively for Indiana. Last night, Lance Stephenson finished the game with 21 points and 13 rebounds, but Paul George’s double-double of 12 points and 14 rebounds came on 3-11 shooting.

None of those performances were enough to offset Roy Hibbert’s four points and two rebounds. It’s not time to panic, it’s simply time to move on from Roy Hibbert. He’s not playing up to his ability, so he should find himself on the bench.

This is not all Frank Vogel’s fault but he is not making any decisions to help his team win this series. Some of the Indiana starters are not getting it done on the court, yet they have been mainstays in the first three games.

Maybe Vogel is “too close to the forest to see the trees” right now. Indiana needs scoring punch and a little more “don’t care” who the opponent is. That could be provided by Chris Copeland. He’s toiling on the bench just like he did for the Knicks against the Pacers last year. In game three, Copeland played one minute.

Nobody wants to hear about how the Pacers are disinterested. That’s just a preposterous statement that keeps giving Indiana excuses. They are on the court and they need to play ball.

The NCAA has a no tolerance policy when it comes to marijuana use. Frank Vogel should have a similar no tolerance policy towards bad play. It’s time to let everybody on the team know they will earn playing time. Well, that is what you have a full roster for. There’s no time like the present to actually use your tools Coach Vogel.

We also act like the series between Atlanta and Indiana didn’t go seven games last year. It certainly did, but at that point Indiana wasn’t prone to giving up a game one home loss. Now they have to be mentally tough enough to win at least one game on the road and two games in a row.

Hey Indiana Pacers, it’s your turn to step up to the plate.


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