Pacers' Roy Hibbert ducks media after benching during blowout loss to Hawks
Pacers coach Frank Vogel benched Roy Hibbert during Indiana's 107-88 home loss to Atlanta on Sunday, and the two-time All-Star center refused to speak to reporters afterwards.
"I got nothing to say," Hibbert told the Indianapolis Star. He added that he would "take the fine" for not speaking with the press before exiting the locker room.
Hibbert finished with zero points (on 0-for-5 shooing), one turnover and no other box score statistics in a season-low nine minutes. Although Vogel benched all five Pacers starters after the Hawks raced out to a 17-3 lead, Hibbert sat for the entire second half, too, unlike the others. The Associated Press reported that Hibbert appeared "disengaged" on the team's bench.
''He looks worn down,'' Vogel said, according to the AP. ''He's a 7-foot-2 player who has played every game this year, which is very rare. He looks to me to be worn down. He's given good effort but he looks to me to be worn down. Combine that with the fact that they have a 3-point shooting 5-man most of the game. It's a difficult matchup.''
Vogel was referring to Hawks center Pero Antic, a 6-foot-11 big man who attempted four three-pointers on Sunday.
Since the All-Star break, Hibbert is averaging just 10 points, 4.9 rebounds and shooting 42.5 percent from the field. Meanwhile, Indiana has fallen out of the East's No. 1 seed after going 2-6 over its last eight games.
Hibbert has been in the middle of some locker room discord recently, when he suggested last month that there were "selfish dudes" on the Pacers roster.
Following those comments, Vogel told the Indianapolis Star that he had talked to the team about keeping their internal differences private.
"It bothers me,'' Vogel said. "Guys should never air in-house stuff to the media. ... I made sure to tell them that A) I don't believe we have 'selfish dudes' in our locker room and B) whatever you might want to say about your teammates, don't say it to the media. We have to get that stopped.'' The loss to Atlanta dropped Indiana to 53-25 on the season and they sit one game behind Miami with four to play. The Pacers are off until Wednesday, when they visit the Bucks in Milwaukee.