You're not going to believe this, but Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert thinks that Miami Heat forward Shane Battier planting a surging right knee square into his giblets on a first-quarter drive during Wednesday's Game 1 win wasn't an accident. The Pacers' primary shot-blocker and layup deterrent shared his opinion of the Duke product's deviousness with his Twitter followers on Thursday:
U can knee or kick me every time u drive 2the rim. Ill be there 2protect the rim. That wasn't inadvertent. Battier knew what he was doing
— Roy Hibbert (@Hoya2aPacer) May 23, 2013
Well, you won't always be there to protect the rim. But generally speaking, yes, we get what you're saying — "Come at me, bro."
So, what led Hibbert to speak out? The big man explained at Indiana's Friday morning practice:
Hibbert tweeted last night because he read someone call Battier's play 'inadvertent.' Hibbert: "That's bulls---."— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) May 24, 2013
He also reiterated his commitment to standing tall in the paint, no matter what kind of shots might be coming south of his border:
Hibbert said he will take knee from Battier again if necessary. "I have no problem putting my nuts in the line of fire."— Jorge Milian (@caneswatch) May 24, 2013
Battier, for his part, didn't speak with the press on Friday, which is unusual. Hmm.
I don't disagree that Battier's knee was dirty — I mean, it's hard to view thrusting your knee into an opponent's trunk any other way — but Battier probably does have some plausible deniability with respect to whether he meant to jam it into Hibbert's groin. He could cop to a lesser charge — say, just trying to create separation from the defender on the drive — while making a self-deprecating joke about his athleticism ("I didn't think I could jump high enough to catch Roy there!") and people would laugh about how lame a no-stats All-Star he is. Then, with the situation defused, Battier could turn away, cackle malevolently, and twirl his terrible mustache. It'd be the perfect crime.
Battier was slapped with an offensive foul for his misdeeds. By the sounds of it, though, if he tries it again in Friday's Game 2, he might be slapped with something else. Like the monstrous hand of an angry 7-foot-2 gentleman. Better keep those knees down, Shane; it'd take an awful lot of Bud Light to soothe that sting.
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