The Norman Transcript

National Sports

May 8, 2014

Hibbert leads Pacers past Wiz

INDIANAPOLIS — 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.

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