Vogel Won’t Do It Again

Photo: REUTERS/Joe Skipper

In yesterday’s last second 103-102 loss to the Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel pulled out his starting center, Roy Hibbert twice in the last minute in favor of a smaller lineup.

Two weeks ago when the Pacers were playing the Knicks, Vogel was asked how often during the season he’s “matched down.” In other words, how often as he gone to a smaller lineup when the opponent tries to beat the Pacers’ size with shooters and quickness. “Zero,” was Vogel’s answer.

So Vogel went against what worked for him this season. In other words, he micromanaged the game too much. We talkd about this yesterday in terms of Lionel Hollins possibly doing that with Grizzles.

In the postgame press conference Vogel said, “That’s the dilemma they present when they have Chris Bosh at the five spot and his ability to space the floor…We put a switching lineup in with the intent to switch, keep everything in front of us and try to go into or force a challenged jumpshot. We pushed up a little bit too much, LeBron was able to beat us off the bounce.”

Vogel continued, “They’re hurting us on the small pick‑and‑rolls where we’re trying to blitz and get back,” he said. “So you have a couple of alternatives. The intent is to try to switch and just, you know, hope that a point guard can keep him in front of us, and both situations we just pushed up on him a little bit too much, and he was able to beat us off the bounce.”

In regards to Hibbert’s absence in the final moments Vogel explained, “We expected [Chris Bosh] to be a spacing option. If Roy were in the game, he probably would have been first or second option, if it didn’t come to LeBron, if LeBron could one‑bounce, draw Roy to the rim and have Bosh spot it up. So it’s the dilemma that they present. Obviously, with the way it worked out, you know, it would have been better to have Roy in the game. But you don’t know. If that happens, maybe Bosh is making the jumpshot, and we’re all talking about that.”

And finally, Vogel admitted the coaching error, “We’ll have to evaluate and see what we’ll do the next time…I would say we’ll probably have him in next time.”

So Vogel said he wouldn’t do it again. He learned his lesson. A lesson of classic basketball coaching. I didn’t like it at the time. I hated the move. I mean, it goes against classic basketball coaching 101. Could you image the 90’s Knicks taking Patrick Ewing out of the game to go small? How about David Robinson? Mutombo? Mourning? Ok, Hibbert may not be at those guys’ level yet, but he’s the closest thing we have to an old-school big man right now.

I would take a Bosh jumper over a Lebron layup any day. Who wouldn’t? Hibbert commented, “I think as I get older, I may have to [ask to stay in]. I didn’t, and in hindsight I wish I did because LeBron’s layup was one I think I could’ve [blocked], because he served it up.”

Who knows what “might” have happened? Regardless, we’ve got two great series going on right now, and wouldn’t it be something to see an Indiana-Memphis final? LOL, the NBA would hate to see that, but that would really be a classic basketball match up!

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