Center Roy Hibbert finally shook his funk, scoring a game-high 28 points with nine rebounds to lead the Indiana Pacers to an 86-82 victory over the Washington Wizards May 7 in game two of the National Basketball Association (NBA) Eastern Conference semifinals in Indiana. Indiana has tied the best-of-seven series at 1-1.

Hibbert was suffering from perhaps the biggest collapse of any All-Star player from the regular season into the playoffs. The former Georgetown University star center was held scoreless in four of his last five games heading into Wednesday night’s contest, but finally exploded with 28 points on 10-of-13 shooting in game two. The Maryland native told TNT after the game that he credits his teammate, Pacers star forward Paul George, for helping him break out of his recent struggles.

“I credit Paul. He actually took me out on his boat yesterday and we just fished and didn’t talk about basketball the whole time,” Hibbert said. “That really helped me and I thank Paul for that.”

George was one of three other Pacers players to score double digits in points with 11; guard George Hill had 14 points and guard Lance Stevenson added 12.

Wizards center Marcin Gortat led Washington with a double-double: 21 points and 11 rebounds. The Wizards backcourt struggled as guard John Wall had just six points with eight assists; guard Bradley Beal finished with 17 points but also struggled shooting throughout the game. Forward Trevor Aria had just six points after scoring 22 points in game one of the series.

Washington will host the Pacers in game three of the series on May 9 at the Verizon Center in D.C. Tip off is at 8 p.m


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor