Roy Hibbert has resolved to wear protection the next time he faces LaMarcus Aldridge after receiving two knees to the groin during Indiana's 106-102 loss to Portland on Monday.
"Next time I play LaMarcus Aldridge I'm wearing a cup," Hibbert wrote on Twitter, including a picture of a jock strap for full effect. "Good game, bro. We gonna battle again in Indy."
That message prompted an exchange with Aldridge, who wanted to make it clear that the low blows were unintentional.
"LOL. Bro, I don't do it on purpose," Aldridge wrote. "I'm just a one-leg jumper so that's how I jump. I don't play dirty. Real talk."
Hibbert replied, making it clear that his message wasn't accusatory in nature: "I believe u, bro. We both competing hard. Tough post moves. Good luck in the West. We will see each other in the Finals."
The two shots below Hibbert's belt occurred in quick succession on very similar plays down the stretch.
With 3:35 left in the fourth quarter, Aldridge spun baseline past David West and drove into Hibbert with his knee raised, making clear contact. Hibbert fell to the floor, writhing in pain. Then, about one minute later, Aldridge spun past West again and it was essentially déjà vu, although the contact seemed a bit less severe. Aldridge was given a pair of foul shots on both drives.
It's worth noting that Hibbert has previously called out Heat forward Shane Battier for being a "dirty player." One point of contention between Hibbert and Battier was -- you guessed it -- a swinging knee on the drive.
There isn't a Pacers/Blazers rivalry hanging over these comments like there was with the Pacers/Heat, and clearly the playoff stakes are nonexistent unless these two teams do manage to defy the odds and meet in the NBA Finals. Hibbert's tone is clearly different, too, but one still wonders whether he is passive-aggressively putting Aldridge (and/or the referees) on notice.
For those interested in purchasing a cup for Hibbert as a Christmas present, there's good news: The Blazers and Pacers won't face off in Indianapolis until Feb. 7, so there's plenty of time to get your holiday shopping done.
Aldridge finished with 28 points (11-for-19 shooting) and 10 rebounds as Portland improved to 15-3. Hibbert finished with 16 points (on 6-for-13 shooting) and 14 rebounds. The Pacers dropped to 16-2 despite a career-high 43 points from Paul George.
Video via YouTube user Maxa711Clips