February 20, 2024

Pacers’ Tyrese Haliburton goes off backboard for ‘special’ assist

NEW YORK — As Pascal Siakam watched Tyrese Haliburton make his newest game-breaking cross — this time by throwing the ball off the backboard to himself after which firing it out to his new All-Star teammate within the nook — there was just one thought crossing Siakam’s thoughts.

“Just make it,” Siakam informed ESPN with amusing inside Madison Square Garden’s visiting locker room following Indiana’s 125-111 victory over the New York Knicks on Saturday evening.

Siakam did simply that, burying a 3-pointer within the nook in entrance of New York’s bench with slightly below eight minutes to go within the third quarter, placing the Pacers up by eight and forcing a timeout from Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau.

It was simply certainly one of many highlights for the Pacers, who shot 61% from the sector and went 14-for-29 from 3-point vary as they claimed their third victory of their previous 4 video games.

There was just one play, nonetheless, that anybody was centered on afterward.

“One characteristic that all great players have is resourcefulness and the ability, in a split second, to invent something special,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle mentioned of Haliburton’s cross. “And he did just that.

“That’s a play that created momentum for us. And, if for some cause that possession was unsuccessful, it might have created a whole lot of momentum for the Knicks. The solely phrase I can actually say is simply, it is simply particular … simply particular stuff.”

For Haliburton, it was a special night on a few levels. He claimed his first victory at Madison Square Garden, something he was happy to remind everyone — including the locker room attendants — after the game. It also was the first game in which he has played at least 30 minutes since his latest return from a hamstring injury that has bothered him for the past month.

And, on top of it, he pulled off a new signature play, something he said he actually contemplated trying in the first half, before finding the chance to do it in the third quarter.

“I’ve by no means executed that earlier than,” Haliburton said with a smile after finishing with 22 points and 12 assists in 30 minutes. “You see so many guys within the NBA attempting [to make plays off the backboard].

“I was going to try it in the first half, a little off the right slot, but it was kind of a weird angle. In transition, it just felt like there was a lot of room in the paint. So, yeah, just playing basketball, having fun.”

It’s exhausting to not have enjoyable taking part in with Haliburton, who led the Pacers to the in-season match championship recreation and has them sitting in sixth place within the Eastern Conference. But Indiana is just one recreation forward of the eighth-place Miami Heat within the standings, and tied within the loss column.

Part of the rationale for that’s Haliburton’s nagging hamstring damage, which has stored him from getting prolonged time taking part in with Siakam, who got here to Indiana in a blockbuster commerce final month from the Toronto Raptors. Siakam has rapidly settled in as Indiana’s second possibility, and he had 19 factors, 6 rebounds and three assists towards New York.

This was the eighth recreation the 2 stars have performed collectively because the commerce, although Haliburton has performed in all eight underneath restricted minutes due to his hamstring. And, as Siakam noticed Saturday, one has to get accustomed to Haliburton’s degree of creativity, and he is nonetheless adjusting to it.

“We had a couple turnovers, him looking and looking me off and then I’m thinking he was doing something else and then he passes it,” Siakam mentioned. “So I just got to like always be ready and we got to figure out rhythms. Him understanding my rhythms and me understanding also his rhythms. I definitely haven’t played with someone like him before, so I’m just learning on the fly and, and I think the more we’re out there we’ll get comfortable.”