INDIANAPOLIS -- Marcin Gortat did his best to match the effort of Roy Hibbert in Game 2, but it just wasn't enough. He's taking the challenge to heart for Friday's Game 3 at Verizon Center with the series tied at 1.
"Nobody expected he was going to go off like that," Gortat said. "We knew they were going to throw the ball to him a little bit earlier. We knew he was going to get some touches and come ready to play. ... He played a very good game. The most important thing for me right now is to make sure he's not going to come back the next game with the same effort. We've got to limit him. We got to make sure he doesn't catch the ball too close to the basket. Make him a jump shooter. ...
"I have to personally stop Hibbert, make sure he don't get so many touches."
Gortat had 21 points on 10-for-15 shooting and a game-high 11 rebounds Wednesday, but Hibbert countered with a season-high 28 points on 10-for-13 shooting and nine rebounds. Hibbert came out fast as he scored 17 of his points in the first half. Still, the Wizards had more than enough chances to steal another game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse before falling 86-82.
John Wall is content with Hibbert having a big role in the offense as long as it means Paul George, the Pacers' best player, continues to struggle. In two games, George is 9-for-30 and averaging just 14.5 points.
"When he's getting a lot of touches and making a lot of shots, that means all the other guys not getting touches," Wall said of Hibbert. "We'd rather try to see him score ... When it's one or two guys (doing all the scoring), you feel more comfortable with your defense than having all five guys going."
The plan is simple, though easier said than done. Make Hibbert catch the ball out farther from the basket when and do it without Washington's bigs getting into early foul trouble.