That year, the rough and tumble Pacers lost to the eventual NBA champion Detroit Pistons in the ECF and were led by a group of bad character guys like the mentally unstable Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson, and Jermaine O’Neal that were later involved in one of the NBA’s ugliest incidents ever, deemed the “Malice at the Palace” brawl at the start of the ’04-’05 season.
But this year’s young and still developing group, led by first time All Star Paul George, David West, and the rim protecting Roy Hibbert, pretty much had their way with the higher seeded NY Knicks, using stingy defense, attack the basket offense, and a never quit attitude to beat New York 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Semis.
After taking a commanding 3-1 early series lead, the Knicks rebounded for a much needed Game 5 victory at home earlier in the week to pull to within 3-2 entering Saturday’s Game 6 in Indianapolis. But after a hard fought, and thrilling contest where New York continued to come back from 8-10 points multiple times behind Carmelo Anthony’s team high 39 points, budding star PG Lance Stephenson and paint protector Roy Hibbert put the game away with series clinching plays.
Playing in only 34 minutes, Indiana’s Stephenson hit 9-13 shots for a career high 25 points, mostly on bruising, physical drives to the basket, to go along with 10 boards, and 3 assists.
The game’s difference maker once again had to be imposing 7’2″ Pacers shot-blocker Roy Hibbert, who outplayed 2012 NBA Defensive POY Tyson Chandler, notching one of his best all around games of the Playoffs, consisting of 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 blocks.
None of his blocks was bigger than his monster rejection of NBA scoring champion Carmelo Anthony at the rim, on a facial dunk attempt, that could go down as one of the best playoff stuffs of all time….
Roy Hibbert Monster Rejection of Melo At the Rim:
Allen Moll has been a lifelong NBA and NCAA College Basketball fan who watches and studies games religiously, and coaches youth basketball in his native Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Allen has also provided content to Bleacherreport.com, Upperdeckblog.com, Cleveland.com, CSN Philly.com, Buckets Magazine, in addition to being a tenured NBA and NCAA columnist for TheHoopDoctors.com.