NBA Playoffs 2013: Roy Hibbert's defense helps key Pacers' Game 2 win over Heat

Chris Trotman

When Hibbert was on the floor, LeBron James was unable to do much of anything with the ball in his hands.

Following a tough Game 1 loss, the Indiana Pacers heard one question for nearly 48 hours: Why wasn't Roy Hibbert on the floor for the final possessions of overtime?

The Pacers learned their lesson in Game 2. It helped lead to a crucial 97-93 road win that evened up the Eastern Conference Finals.

Hibbert was on the floor for most of the fourth quarter, altering numerous shots at the rim. LeBron James had the ball at the top of the key twice in the final 45 seconds and turned it over both times. He was unable to get away a single shot attempt.

"We stress containment and we learned from Game 1," Hibbert said. "Paul (George) did a good job of keeping him in front and we shrunk the lane. Luckily, David (West) was able to get a hand on those passes and George (Hill) hit some free throws."

According to ESPN Stats & Info, LeBron went 4-for-5 with no turnovers when Hibbert was on the bench. When the 7'2 big man was patrolling the paint, James went just 1 for 2 with four turnovers on drives to the basket.

Pacers coach Frank Vogel stressed the importance of everyone stepping up in the playoffs, especially when playing in a hostile road environment.

"It's near impossible," Vogel said of stopping LeBron twice in the final minute. "I'm not sure how we did it other than exhibiting great will."

Five players notched double-figures in scoring for Indiana on Friday night, including Hibbert, who had 29. Paul George had 22 points and a handful of highlight reel dunks, including a major slam on Chris Andersen.

Defensively, Indiana held Miami to 47 percent shooting from the floor and just 7-of-22 shooting from behind the arc.

"This whole team is showing great desire, great heart and great belief," Vogel said.

With the series tied at 1-1 and the momentum on the Pacers' side, the next two games shift to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana.

In the 2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Indiana won Game 2 over Miami and then took a 2-1 series lead at home. Miami responded by winning the next three games before eventually winning the world championship.

Will things be different this time around? For the Pacers, it's going to depend on their defense, just as it has all season long.

Quotes courtesy of the NBA's live press conference stream

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