Big Game by Roy Hibbert Lifts Indiana Pacers over New Jersey Nets

Ernest Shepard@@ernestshepardAnalyst IIIJanuary 31, 2012

Roy Hibbert continues to impress with his strong play.
Roy Hibbert continues to impress with his strong play.Elsa/Getty Images

The Indiana Pacers keep on proving that they are a team to be reckoned with.

Led by Roy Hibbert's 18-point, 14-rebound performance, the Pacers defeated the New Jersey Nets 106-99. Trailing the Bulls by 2.5 games in the NBA Central, the Pacers are steadily improving, as was evident in their win tonight.

The Pacers used balanced scoring to beat the Nets, with five players finishing with eight or more points, including 24 points by Paul George and 21 by Danny Granger.

Still, the player of the game was Hibbert, who also added four blocked shots in 32 minutes.

This win may serve as a breakout party for Hibbert, who is making a case for an All-Star bid. With the starters set to be announced on Thursday, it is a virtual lock that Dwight Howard will be the starting center in the East, but Hibbert has to be close behind him. Hibbert is the only other center that averages more than 13 points and eight rebounds per game in the East.

Games like tonight will enhance Hibbert's All-Star chances as well as the national profile of the Indiana Pacers.