LeBron James Not Afraid to Challenge Roy Hibbert at the Rim

by May 22, 2013

With Roy Hibbert’s tremendous block on Carmelo Anthony in Game 6 still fresh in everyone’s mind, the media asked LeBron James about challenging the Pacers’ big man in similar fashion during the Eastern Conference Finals. LBJ says he’s not worried at all about getting his shot blocked (though James has been practicing floaters in anticipation of Hibbert’s long arms). Per the NY Daily News: “He seemed offended that a reporter would even ask whether he’d hesitate to drive against Hibbert. ‘Me?’ James said incredulously. ‘Me?’ Reassured the question was about him, James dismissed the notion. ‘Nah.’ The Pacers succeeded against the Knicks, in part because Hibbert was a lone force in the paint who allowed his teammates to stay on the perimeter and defend the 3-point shot. The Knicks had opportunities to drive on Hibbert, who badly outplayed Tyson Chandler, and Indiana’s center responded with 19 blocks in six games. Of course, nobody finishes at the rim like the Heat, specifically James. The four-time MVP said there isn’t a player in the league who could deter him from a dunk attempt. ‘If I think I can finish over the top than I’m going to go for it,’ said James, who has played in five of the last seven Eastern Conference finals. ‘Once you get in the air you want to think, score first, pass second, and see where it takes you. But I do protect myself though. I had a nasty fall when I was in junior high school, broke my wrist. So I’m very protective of how I take off.’ The Heat enter Wednesday’s Game 1 as the overwhelming favorites to repeat as champions, with the Pacers representing such a miniature obstacle that you’d need to bet $15 on Miami just to win $2, according to odds from Vegas betting website Bovada. It doesn’t seem to matter that Dwyane Wade is bothered by a bruised knee or the Pacers beat Miami two of three times during the regular season. It’s still all about James, who couldn’t be stopped from driving by Joakim Noah in the last series or by Serge Ibaka in last year’s finals. Hibbert is another big body. ‘He does a great job of protecting the rim,’ James said. ‘And we understand that. And we’re going to have to make sure we account for him.'”