Roy Hibbert knew. He could see it in LeBron’s face.
“I think LeBron gave it away in his face,” Hibbert said. “He didn’t have that grit-his-teeth, score-the-last-basket look. So I knew he was probably going to pass it out to Chris Bosh for a shot.”
If what he claims is true, Hibbert might have a future in psychology or body-language deciphering. With two seconds to go in the fourth quarter, Rashard Lewis inbounded to James, who dished the ball to Bosh for a seemingly open jumper.
The plan worked perfectly—or would have, had Hibbert not come screaming out of the paint to contest Bosh’s shot at the final moment. The result was an air ball, and the Heat walked off the court with an 84-83 loss to their biggest Eastern Conference rival.
According to The Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com) it was the exact play Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra had designed.
“Unfortunately, that was what I diagramed,” said Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra. “It probably wasn't the best call. It might have been a little too gunslinger on my part. I just wanted an open shot."
Which brings us back to Hibbert's claim. Did he really know this was coming? Do players pay this much attention to facial expressions in these kinds of situations?
Only Hibbert knows for certain whether he actually predicted Bosh taking the final shot. What we do know is James will probably have a scowl taped to his mug from now on in end-of-game scenarios.
James gave away his “tell,” and Hibbert—some would say foolishly—admitted publicly to recognizing it.
Brown writes that the Heat superstar will learn to keep his cards closer to the vest after Wednesday night.
“Maybe this is a tip for LeBron to keep a poker face and not give away the offensive plans next time.”
Beating the Heat will serve as a huge momentum swing for the Pacers. The regular season is nearing its end, and if Hibbert’s claim can be believed, the team is playing both its most physical and intelligent ball of the season.
The Pacers face a bit of a hangover/trap game against the Wizards in Washington on Friday. John Wall’s patented step-back is dropping like rain as of late, but based on his recent admissions, Hibbert will be there to make sure it never reaches the rim.
He sees these things coming from a mile away.
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