The Indiana Pacers take great pride in their defense, otherwise they would not be ranked 1st in the NBA with only 88.9 points allowed per game. It takes more than just a starting five to play great team defense, and Roy Hibbert wanted to remind the Pacers reserve players of that on Tuesday night by giving them an incentive late in the game.
With Indiana holding a comfortable lead late in the fourth quarter of a 103-76 win over the Charlotte Bobcats, Hibbert offered the Pacers reserves $100 each if they held Charlotte under 80 points. Obviously, they were able to do so. From Curt Cavin of the Indianpolis Star:
‘I’m a man of my word,’ he assured them.
In a happy locker room following a 103-76 blowout, the highest-paid Pacer ($13.66 million this season) handed out large bills to three teammates, including one he couldn’t name, Dominic McGuire, who is playing on a 10-day contract. Jeff Pendergraph refused his reward. Ben Hansbrough must wait until Hibbert finds an ATM.
‘He’s a rookie; he gets his last,’ Hibbert said with playful defiance.
The Pacers are at the top of the NBA in both rebounding and defense. You don’t get those kind of results without steady contributions from role players. Hibbert is currently playing under a four-year, $58 million contract, so he can certainly spare the extra scratch. That being said, he might want to save the financial incentives for the playoffs. I don’t think paying your teammates for good defense is tax deductible.
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