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Pacers’ Hibbert becoming one of NBAs best centers

The Indiana Pacers are in a fight for their playoffs lives, in the NBA Eastern Conference finals with the Miami Heat. The Heat lead the series 2-1, with game 4 being played Tuesday May 28 in Indiana.

One of the reasons the Pacers won one of their first two games of the series in Miami was their center 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert, who many are starting to call the Kareem of the new millennium.

Today’s game does not have the talented centers of before like Abdul-Jabbar, Russell, Chamberlain, Lanier, Thurmond, Gilmore, Walton, Reed, Malone, Olajuwon, Robinson, Ewing and Parish. However, now there is Hibbert. The Pacers center is as close to being a throwback than another other center in the entire NBA.

After three games in the conference finals, Hibbert is averaging 22.6 points and 12 rebounds per game. He is shooting over 50% from the field and 82% from the foul line.

Miami Heat head coach Erick Spoelstra says that Hibbert makes a great impact on games and that the big man has improved tremendously since last season when Miami knocked Indiana out in the first round of the playoffs.

Hibbert has worked so hard each year on playing pick and roll defense, that he is now one of the league’s best defenders against the pick and roll.

The Pacers center has improved that part of his game so much that Miami does not use the man Hibbert is guarding for its pick and rolls.

Hibbert was held out of the final play in game 1 where LeBron James was able to beat his defender and make a gaming winning layout as time ran out.

Indiana coach Frank Vogel now knows that cannot be done again since Vogel himself considers Hibbert to be the league’s best at rim protection.

Hibbert does not look like the quintessential center, still appears awkward running the court and it seems like a tough defender could shut down his offensive game easily.

However, Miami has tried that with Chris Anderson, Chris Bosh, Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem and it has not been successful.

The Indiana center might not always seem like he knows or has a feel of what to do with the ball in his hands, but he does. He has nice hooks and short jumpers and is a pin-point passer.

On defense, Hibbert is great at using his complete length and knows how to take advantage of the league’s verticality rule. Hibbert averaged 2.6 blocks per game and of course, that does not take into affect the shots his long arms alter but do not block. Hibbert only fouled out five times during the regular season and none thus far in the playoffs.

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