The Knicks were up 92-90 with around five minutes left and looked like they might send the Eastern Conference semifinals series to a seventh game. The quarter had gone back-and-forth and was a one-possession game for the first seven minutes. But that’s when Hibbert changed the game.
The Pacers center came over to defend the rim after Anthony spun around Paul George and headed for a baseline dunk. He managed to stuff Melo’s dunk attempt at the rim. The ESPN replay showed the struggle between the two at the rim and how Hibbert’s strength stood up to ‘Melo’s. It was a thing of beauty.
The block sparked the Pacers; they went on a 9-0 run and won 106-99 to end the series. They outscored the Knicks 16-7 after the block, which was Hibbert’s fifth of the game.
Carmelo credited Hibbert for causing “havoc” in the paint. Everyone viewed it as a major turning point. But the only one unwilling to heap praise on Hibbert for the play was ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who said he wasn’t about to throw Hibbert “a cookie” for the play.
“It was a pivotal play in the game, no doubt about it, but I’m not about to throw him a cookie. He is 7-feet-2 for crying out loud. It’s nice to see him get up and block that shot,” Smith said after the game.
“That particular play, as great of a block as it was, I guess, you’re 7-feet-2. A guy 6-foot-8 is coming your way. I expect you to be able to make that play. That’s what you’re on the court for. I’m not about to give him cookies and milk for that.”
You can see his comments below:
Come on, Steve. Don’t stiff Hibbert on this one. Just because a guy is paid to hit home runs doesn’t mean you don’t give him credit when he delivers in the bottom of the ninth. It’s too much of that Skip Bayless influence getting to you.Google+