“Give me the ball and the game will be over.”
That’s what Tyrese Haliburton told his teammates with the game tied before the final possession.
He wasn’t lying. No OT tonight.
Haliburton hit the game winning 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds left to give the Indiana Pacers a 111-108 victory over the Miami Heat.
The final triple set a Pacers franchise record with 10 3-pointers as Haliburton scored a career high 43 points while making 14 of his 20 shot attempts.
“I had to respond,” Haliburton said in the post-game interview. “Last time we played these guys they really held me in check, so I wanted to come out here and respond the right way.”
1 point in the last game against Miami to a career high in this one. Quite a response. A redemption arc as sweet and satisfying as a steamy mug of hot chocolate on a snowy evening.
This 43-point explosion followed his 33-point effort on the road against the Boston Celtics that led the Pacers (17-16) to a 117-112 win. On the season, he’s now averaging 20.7 points, 10.5 assists, 3.9 rebounds, 1.7 steals while shooting 48.5/40.5/87.8.
Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle called Haliburton an artist after the game and he painted a pair of masterpieces in the last two games. Against the Celtics, it went beyond his scoring as the league leader in assists had multiple no-look passes including this one that had Robert Williams III convinced he was passing it to the wing.
Against the Heat, Haliburton repeatedly shot at any time when he had even a glimmer of an opening. Particularly adept at getting off his looks, no matter how deep, in this one in the switch pocket. That brief moment where his defender stays attached to the screener but before the screener’s defender can get up to defend him.
His artistry wasn’t limited to the offensive end either as he blocked a Victor Oladipo 3-point attempt at one end and it led to a transition 3-pointer on the other.
“No external motivation,” Haliburton said after the game of his play recently. “It’s all within myself.”
Yeah, sure, certain comments had nothing to do with the fire that’s been in your eye the last couple games, Tyrese. We’ll go with that. Actions speak louder than words and his actions are yelling two words very clearly: ALL STAR.
Stray Observations on Chris Duarte, Aaron Nesmith, Myles Turner, Jalen Smith, Pacers closing out games, and more from the last two games coming soon.