By Mark Remme

Don’t tell Roy Hibbert he’s a throwback center and expect to get away with it. Yes, the 7-foot-2, 290-pound center plays his position like they did in generations gone by—far different than the majority of bigs in the NBA today. But that doesn’t mean he’s a throwback. It means he’s doing exactly what the Pacers have found works best for their own success, and he—like the rest of his teammates on the East’s best squad—have all bought in.

“I don’t go in there and say I have to be a throwback or this, that or the other. I just, we play the game the way that, we play smash-mouth basketball,” Hibbert said. “That’s how we play together, and that’s how we figured out we can win.”

When the Pacers come to town tonight to face the Timberwolves (tipoff set for 7 PM on Fox Sports North, ESPN and 830 WCCO-AM), they’ll bring a 41-12 record they built by unconventional standards in today’s NBA. They can score, but they don’t rely on it. They give up 90.5 points per game, best in the NBA and FAR below the league average, and they also lead the league in opponent team shooting percentage, defensive efficiency and opponent true shooting percentage.

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