With just over five minutes remaining and facing a two-point deficit in their pivotal Game 6, the Indiana Pacers had precious little time to put the New York Knicks away and even less momentum with which to do it.
That's where Roy Hibbert came in. The All-Star center delivered his fifth and finest block of the evening, this time against Carmelo Anthony—who wound up with 39 points in his club's 106-99 loss to the Pacers. To say nothing of what the block seemed to inspire among Hibbert's teammates, it was an impressive physical display in its own right.
Anthony had the ball all but dunked, attempting to muscle it through even after Hibbert's big mitt got in the way.
Roy Hibbert's 5th block of the night on Carmelo Anthony may just end up in the #SCtop10.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 19, 2013
After the game, coach Frank Vogel described Hibbert to reporters as, "the best rim protector in the game," an arguable point that's a lot harder to argue after Saturday's clutch rejection.
More importantly, though, the defensive stand fueled a club that had grown sluggish and allowed the Knicks back into the game after controlling it throughout the first half. Indiana outscored New York 16-7 over the course of those final five minutes, a veritable offensive explosion by this series' standards.
Roy Hibbert's block changed the entire outcome of the game.. Extraordinary timing against a star closer around the rim..— Kevin Negandhi (@KNegandhiESPN) May 19, 2013
Even Anthony knew this was no ordinary block.
Melo: "It was a helluva block, big play by Hibbert...That block I think spearheaded that momentum run that they made."— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) May 19, 2013
Just as it's done throughout the season, Indiana prevailed because of its defense. It may not look that way after dropping 106, but getting to that 106 might not have happened without Hibbert changing the tone in this one.