After Wednesday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers, Marcin Gortat had a wolverine-like slash on his back right shoulder. Seriously, it looked like he just fought a bear. It turns out the bear was Roy Hibbert.
“There is a lot of fighting under the basket, and grabbing,” Gortat said. “A lot of big men with nails, and that’s how it is. I just end up with scratches all over the place.
“If people are starting to push more and hitting people, then obviously I’m going to respond and kind of put myself on a bind because I’m always trying to play hard and trying to pin someone under the basket. So they just hit me back and obviously the teams are always ready for Dwight, so when Dwight is coming out and I’m coming in, and the defense is still the same.”
Gortat finished with 15 points and 8 rebounds in 27 minutes, another solid effort in a very productive preseason. Gortat hit a 14-foot jumper in the second quarter — a weapon he continues to improve — and he all-in-all outplayed Roy Hibbert, the first-round pick who is seemingly a cornerstone of Indiana’s future. While Hibbert scored on Gortat on back-to-back plays in the second quarter, he had trouble scoring on the Polish center most of the game.
That makes you think. Gortat, the Magic’s backup center and second or third guy off the bench, outplayed another NBA team’s starting center and lottery investment. While the jury is still out on Hibbert as an NBA player – many don’t think he’s a rotation guy, let alone a starter – it illustrates Orlando’s roster of riches. No team in the NBA has the depth Orlando has.