Posted Date: April 24, 2014

Give And Go: Roy Hibbert’s missing game, Grizz’s chances and more playoff debates

2014 NBA playoffs, Chris Paul, Give-and-Go, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, Roy Hibbert, Stephen Curry
Roy Hibbert

Roy Hibbert’s late-season struggles have continued early in the playoffs. (Darron Cummings/AP)

Give And Go is a recurring feature in which The Point Forward’s Ben Golliver and Rob Mahoney bat an NBA topic du jour back and forth.

This week: Assessing the early returns from the playoffs after each team has played two games. (All stats and records are through April 23.)

1. What is wrong with Roy Hibbert? Should the Pacers bench their All-Star center?

Golliver: There are a number of issues to dissect with Hibbert, but the conversation should take place within the context of the drastically raised expectations that came with the Pacers’ run to the 2013 Eastern Conference finals and their incredibly strong start to this season. Much like a talented freshman who decides to return to school rather than turn pro, Hibbert’s emergence as the face of the league’s top defense — and the Pacers’ second-half struggles — have subjected him to far more scrutiny than he’s seen in previous years.

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Posted Date: April 24, 2014

Pau Gasol on Lakers future: I’d stay for Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, Mike D'Antoni, Pau Gasol
Kobe Bryant; Pau Gasol

Kobe Bryant could have the power to convince Pau Gasol to stay in Los Angeles (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images Sport)

For months, it appeared Pau Gasol’s time as a Laker might be coming to an end this offseason, but that sentiment could be changing if his recent comments are any indication.

Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News relays the latest from Gasol, who says he would consider staying in Los Angeles if a certain someone wants him to:

“Re-signing for the Lakers is a possibility, but I’m not sure whether to say it’s a remote one,” Gasol wrote Wednesday on his personal Web site. “If there’s anything or anyone who could make me stay it’s Kobe Bryant. I’d stay for him, but there’d have to be significant changes. I’ve said it many times: I want to be in a team that has a solid chance to win another tournament and where I can be an important factor in the game.”

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Posted Date: April 24, 2014

Arena wars: How does the Barclays Center stack up against Madison Square Garden?

2014 NBA playoffs, Barclays Center, Brooklyn Nets, Madison Square Garden, New York Knicks
Barclays Center (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images).

The Nets and Raptors will play Game 3 at the Barclays Center on Friday. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images).

Don’t underestimate the power of brown, especially on arenas. Both Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center boast a shade of the color on their exterior, one weathered and rusted to look older than its true age, the other dressed in lights to look a touch younger, just one tie that binds New York City’s two big-name arenas.

One major difference, though? Barclays is hosting playoff basketball for the second straight year thanks to the Brooklyn Nets. New York’s Garden? The Knicks missed out on the postseason, but the NHL’s Rangers have home playoff dates on the schedule.

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Posted Date: April 24, 2014

Video: Heat’s LeBron James leveled by forearm to throat from Bobcats’ Josh McRoberts

2014 NBA playoffs, Ben Golliver, Charlotte Bobcats, Josh McRoberts, LeBron James, Miami Heat

Heat forward LeBron James took a forearm to the throat from Bobcats forward Josh McRoberts during the final minute of Miami’s 101-97 victory in Game 2 on Wednesday.

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Posted Date: April 24, 2014

Three-Pointers: LaMarcus Aldridge detonates again as Blazers beat Rockets

2014 NBA playoffs, Ben Golliver, Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets, James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers
 (Scott Halleran/Getty Images Sport)

Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge scored 43 points in a Game 2 win over the Rockets. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images Sport)

The Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Houston Rockets 112-105 on Wednesday to take a 2-0 series lead. Game 3 is set for Portland’s Moda Center on Friday.

SI’s 2014 NBA playoffs hub: Schedule, results and analysis

LaMarcus Aldridge did it again. One of the most persistent criticisms of LaMarcus Aldridge during his eight-year career has been that he over-relies on his mid-range jumper at the expense of his low-post game. His 6-foot-11, long-armed frame and athletic tools make him a tough cover on the block, but he has never apologized for his perimeter approach, whether he’s lining up a straight-on look from the elbow or spinning into a baseline turnaround.

After scoring 46 points and grabbing 18 rebounds in Game 1, Aldridge nearly matched the feat in Game 2, pouring in a game-high 43 points (on 18-for-28 shooting) and grabbing eight rebounds. In doing so, he became the first player since then-Cavaliers forward LeBron James to score 40+ points in consecutive playoff games (May 2009), and Elias Sports notes that he joins Michael Jordan and Tracy McGrady as the only players to go for 40+ points in Games 1 and 2 on the road. Aldridge now holds the No. 1 spot (Game 1) and No. 3 spot (Game 2) on the Blazers’ all-time postseason scoring list, and he is the only player in franchise history to top 40 points in two different playoff games.

“These two games here are as well as I’ve seen him play,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said, and the entire world nodded in agreement.

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