Wizards center Marcin Gortat heard the question and waited several seconds before speaking. He took a deep breath. Cleared his throat.

Asked whether he anticipates seeing Indiana’s Roy Hibbert show the same sort of energy Friday night in Game 3 of the teams’ Eastern Conference semifinal that he did in an outcome-altering Game 2 performance, Gortat opted not to go there.

”I ain’t going to talk about him,” Gortat eventually said after practice Thursday. ”Next question.”

“And yet, all of a sudden, the Wizards were talking plenty about Hibbert, trying to figure out how to slow him down. His role in the best-of-seven series, tied at 1-all, sure changed quickly.

The 7-foot-2 All-Star shot 10 for 13 and finished with 28 points and nine rebounds in the Pacers’ 86-82 home victory Wednesday. In the first 56 seconds alone, he won the opening tip, hit a jumper from near the foul line as the shot clock expired, then turned in a three-point play for a 5-0 lead. Fittingly, the game ended with the basketball in Hibbert’s hands on a rebound.

‘He started to run the court a little bit. We saw on film where he kind of outran all of us. That showed him wanting the ball,” Wizards guard Andre Miller said. ”He wanted to win, and it kind of rubbed off on the rest of the team.”

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