“Roy looked each of us in the eye and challenged us to come together and play our very best,” said forward Paul George. “Then he said if we did that, he would promise to not step on the court the rest of the postseason, and that without him holding us back, there’s nothing and no one that could stop us. It was the best speech ever.”
“It was everything we needed to hear,” said forward David West. “The amount of celebrating in the room when Roy said he wouldn’t play … I can’t imagine winning a championship feels any better.”
Hibbert has struggled mightily in the series, averaging 4.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game, and shooting just 31-percent from the floor as the the No. 1 seed Pacers have fallen behind. In his team’s Game 5 loss, Hibbert put up zero points and had zero rebounds to go along with four fouls.
“I see myself as a leader on this team and that means I’ll do or say anything that can get this team to win,” said the six-year pro. “That’s why I told the guys that if they can get all the way to the NBA Finals and win it all, not only will I not play, I’ll never step on the court as an Indiana Pacer again. My ears are still ringing from the celebrating.”
Head coach Frank Vogel says he expects his team to come out clicking on all cylinders.
“So much of this game is mental,” he said. “And there’s nothing better mentally than having the peace of mind that Roy Hibbert isn’t going to play for you. I’ve never seen the guys so confident. We’re back.”
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