NBA Stats

May 29 2014 4:37PM

The Right Decision

By Jay Cipoletti

Roy Hibbert protects the rim. At no point in Indiana's Game 5 win was that more evident than on their final defensive stop, when Hibbert stoned a LeBron James rim attack, forcing a kick out for corner 3 instead of a point-blank shot in the Restricted Area.

Whether or not that was the right decision was the subject of much Twitter debate last night and into this morning. A look at the Player Tracking box score suggests there was not much of a decision to be made.

Game 5 Rim Protection

Rim ProtectionHeat FGM at RimHeat FGA at RimRim FG%
Hibbert1425.0%
All Other Pacers71163.6%

The Heat had made only one shot at the rim against Hibbert in 37:52 of playing time. Chris Bosh was 7-of-13 from the Right Corner in the playoffs, prior to that end-game miss. With Hibbert closing off the rim and Bosh spotting up in the corner, kicking it out was the only decision that made sense for James. In retrospect, leaving Hibbert in to protect the rim made perfect sense for Frank Vogel, too.

Chris Bosh Playoff Shot Chart

Why Bosh was in the corner, allowing Hibbert to get to the rim to help, and why the Heat overloaded the right side, allowing Hill to slide down to contest Bosh's shot, are subjects open to less conclusive debate.