Why Is Roy Hibbert Shooting Crunch-Time Three-Pointers?

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The Indiana Pacers could’ve had an unlikely three-point crunch time hero: Roy Hibbert.

With 38 seconds left in regulation and the Pacers trailing the Brooklyn Nets 105-100, George Hill drove into the paint, drawing Brook Lopez’s attention. Hibbert, guarded by Lopez, stepped out to the three-point line, and with nowhere to go, Hill dished him the ball. With time running out, Hibbert rose, fired, and… shot an airball wide left.

“We’ll take our chances with that one,” Lionel Hollins said of the shot.

It was just Hibbert’s second three-pointer of the season, and the first one wasn’t too different: a missed 25-footer against the Washington Wizards with time running out.

It’s not just three-pointers, either. Hibbert launched a 20-footer off the top of the backboard as time expired against the Los Angeles Lakers on January 4th:

Three shots isn’t a big season of crunch-time opportunities, but: why is Roy Hibbert spacing the floor with the game on the line? You can’t really blame him for taking any of those shots — the shot clock was close to zero — but Hibbert has made just six three-pointers in seven seasons, and judging by where each one of these crunch time shots has landed, he’s not putting himself in a position to succeed.

In a poetic progression following Hibbert’s miss against the Nets, Joe Johnson hit a wide open corner three-pointer with 15 seconds left, putting the Nets up 108-100. The Nets ended up winning 111-106, earning the tiebreaker over the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference playoff race.