Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel made one of the most inexplicable decisions of the 2013 NBA playoffs on Wednesday night when he had Roy Hibbert, his best post defender, sitting on the bench for the Miami Heat’s final two possessions of the game. LeBron James took full advantage, taking the ball right to the hoop each time and leading Miami to a 103-102 overtime victory.
After the game, Vogel literally had no explanation for why Hibbert wasn’t on the floor.
“I would say we’ll probably have him in next time,” he said.
Naturally, Hibbert was also asked for his thoughts on watching the final seconds of the game from the bench as his team let what could have been a tone-setting win slip away. Next time, he says he’ll let it be known that he feels he should be in the game.
“I’ve grown as a player, this is my fifth year and maybe I need to start talking up more,” Hibbert told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday night. “They pay me [max-contract money] for a reason.
“I didn’t say anything, and I wish I did. From now on, I need to speak up.”
They don’t pay Hibbert max contract money to make coaching decisions. Those are left to Vogel, but it’s probably not a bad idea for Hibbert to put up a fuss next time if Vogel can’t properly do his job in such a crucial situation.
Who are we kidding — there won’t be a next time. Hibbert is going to be on the floor in any tight games going forward, as he should be. The problem is Vogel’s epic screw-up allowed Miami to steal a game, and the defending champs don’t exactly need any help. The man calling the shots let one get away, and it could cost his team a shot at a championship.