In some quarters, Miami Heat forward Shane Battier has a reputation as a flopper.
But as a dirty player?
That wasn’t the case until Thursday, when Indiana center Roy Hibbert called him out via Twitter for a play in the first quarter of Wednesday night’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. As Battier drove to the basket, he extended his right knee and hit Hibbert in the waist area, sending him sprawling.
Battier was called for a charge.
“It definitely hurt — a lot,” Hibbert said early this afternoon, about eight hours before the two teams were to meet in Game 2.
But what really hurt Hibbert was reading an account Thursday that said Battier’s foul was “inadvertent.”
Hibbert responded by tweeting: “U can knee or kick me every time u drive 2the rim. I’ll be there 2protect the rim. That wasn’t inadvertent. Battier knew what he was doing.”
Hibbert didn’t budge today when asked if he stood by his tweet.
“I’ve never seen him do that before,” Hibbert said. “I didn’t think that was cool. Did that look like a regular shooting motion? No.”
Hibbert said he wasn’t” whining but just pointing out that he wouldn’t back down from Battier or anyone else.
Battier wasn’t made available to reporters today after the Heat’s shootaround and no one on Miami’s side had much reaction to Hibbert’s comments.
“The series and this game will be decided between the four lines,”coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Everything else is just talk.”
Said Dwyane Wade: “I’m not getting into that. It’s the playoffs. Guys are battling out there. It’s a physical game.”
Hibbert said the Heat’s “mentality is if you hit him now, he’s going to think about it and not go back and put his body in the line of fire again.”
Hibbert promised that’s not going to happen.
“If he wants to do that, that’s fine,” Hibbert said of Battier. “I’m still going to be there to protect the rim.”
Battier’s takedown of Hibbert was one of several chippy plays in Wednesday’s game, won by the Heat 103-102 in overtime.
In the first half, Indiana’s Tyler Hansbrough got tangled up with Battier and it led to a technical foul on Miami’s Chris Andersen. In the second half, Heat guard Norris Cole was called for an offensive foul when he swung his arm between the legs of Pacers forward David West.
The teams also played a combative series last season when they met in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Noteworthy: Spoelstra said that point guard Mario Chalmers (bruised left shoulder) will play tonight.