LeBron James Says Roy Hibbert Uses ‘Verticality Rule’ the Most in the NBA

by December 11, 2013
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The Miami Heat had a hard time finishing at the rim in their Tuesday night showdown with the Indiana Pacers, thanks in large part to Roy Hibbert. LeBron James thinks the big fella is allowed to use the “verticality rule” more than anyone else in the L. Per Bleacher Report: “We look at film,’ Hibbert said. ‘You don’t disrespect anyone else, but they just get way too many easy drives to the basket, way too many dunks. Obviously, Birdman kind of dunked on me tonight, which is not something I like, but it happens. But we try to plug the lane as much as possible… Once we got our principles down in the second, we were trying to give them nothing in the paint.’ And when the Heat got there, they found the 7-foot-2 center on the back line. On those occasions that LeBron James didn’t shy away from Hibbert, some of his shortest shots came up shy, or long, or left, or right. James missed 4-of-8 shots at the rim, while settling for several standstill jumpers, and finishing an uncharacteristic 6-of-16 overall. ‘He takes a lot of teams out of what they are accustomed to doing, because he is so great at the rim, protecting the rim, and they allow him to use his verticality rule more than anyone in our league,’ James said. That last part speaks, passive-aggressively, to the Heat’s foremost frustration when facing the Pacers, but there seems little chance that it changes. So Miami must keep pushing, and maybe even tweaking, in order to impose its advantages, rather than be immobilized by Indiana’s mountain. The Heat didn’t adjust appropriately Tuesday but, once it was over, they didn’t seem too bothered. James surmised that ‘we brought it tonight, and they just made more shots,’ and even went so far as to say the Heat ‘played a great game.’ … ‘We’re not the team that we want to be in April right now, and that’s OK,’ James said. Shortly after, he added that, ‘It’s a long season. You don’t hold your head low after one loss.’ That season includes three more meetings between the team, the next coming next Wednesday in Miami.”