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SCORESHEET: Sitting Hibbert? Classic case


I find the discussions fascinating concerning whether Indiana center Roy Hibbert should have been on the court for the final play of the Pacers-Miami Heat series opener.

My first reaction as the Pacers came out of the timeout that preceded LeBron James' winning, driving layup: Is Indiana coach Frank Vogel crazy?

Good arguments can be made for and against Hibbert being on the floor — new ESPN analyst P.J. Carlesimo offered one of the best breakdowns of all the factors involved, and he agreed with Vogel's decision.

Vogel's done a terrific job with the Pacers, I doubt if anyone is sitting in a sports bar debating that.

This one play, however, is the stuff of classic sports talk over a beverage or two. Break out the napkins and draw it up.

I'm still not convinced that sitting Hibbert was the best move — although I agree that, even with Hibbert in the game, James still was likely to score, and that the overplaying defense of Indy's Paul George was really the culprit for the Pacers' upset hopes.

The play does show you how the NBA game has changed, though, and how much it's coached, or over-coached.

If you subscribed to the put-Hibbert-on-the-bench theory, it seems to me that you also have to say that Red Auerbach should have taken out Bill Russell in similar situations (even though Russell was relatively mobile for a big man/shot blocker).

And you'd have to say that you would have taken out Wilt Chamberlain, Willis Reed, Wes Unseld, Nate Thurmond, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, Moses Malone, Robert Parish, David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, Shaquille O'Neal, Tim Duncan … everyone, really.

None of the above would have been the optimum player, etiher, to switch a screen in that situation or defend Miami forward Chris Bosh on the perimeter — which seems to be the basis of the rationale for removing Hibbert, the concern that Hibbert couldn't have gotten out on Bosh for a 20-foot jumper.

But removing those all-time great NBA centers somehow doesn't make sense to me.

Happy birthday

May 28, 1948 — Tom Blanchard, former Grants Pass High/UO/NFL (11 seasons) quarterback-punter who led the Cavemen to the 1964 state title and averaged 41.3 yards per NFL punt (age 65).

May 27, 1966 — John Jaha, David Douglas High product (6-1, 195 pounds) played 10 MLB seasons, making the American League All-Star team at first base in 1999. He hit .263 with 141 home runs (age 47).

May 27, 1981 — Nick Barnett, linebacker from Oregon State who played with Green Bay Packers (2003-10) and Buffalo Bills (2011-12), totaling 724 tackles, 20 1/2 sacks and 12 interceptions (age 32).

May 23, 1990 — Darron Thomas, former UO quarterback who was on the Calgary Stampeders' practice squad last season (age 23).

Oregon sports history

May 27, 1978 — Sunset High successfully defends its Class AAA (largest schools) state girls track and field title — and Teri Wierson sets a meet record in the 800 meters (2:07.6 hand-timed) that no one has bettered, making it the oldest big-school meet mark, for boys or girls.

Wierson and Grant's Jackie Jackson shared top points honors with 22 1/2 apiece as Sunset scored 56 to outdistance the runner-up Generals, who had 31. Wierson also won the 200 low hurdles and was on the winning mile relay team with her sister Marchi Wierson, who placed second to Teri in the 800. Third was Crescent Valley's Leann Warren, who went on to win three national titles and 10 All-America honors during a University of Oregon career that placed her in the Ducks' Hall of Fame. Warren won the 400 at the '78 state meet.

Others in that 1978 AAA girls meet at Springfield's Silke Field included Anna Maria Lopez of St. Mary's Academy, who won the discus; and Sunset distance star Eryn Forbes, who swept the 1,500 and 3,000.