Tyrese Haliburton led Indiana Pacers shocked the NBA fraternity when they defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 128-119 in the NBA In-Season Tournament’s semifinals. The Pacers were not contenders for the title as most people considered them an underdog for the tournament. However, Haliburton is happy they could prove the critics wrong with their fine display.
Indiana trailed Milwaukee by three points after three quarters. However, Haliburton inspired the Pacers to outscore the Bucks 37-25 in the fourth quarter to secure the win.
Haliburton finished with a team-high 27 points, seven rebounds, 15 assists and struck three 3-pointers on 57.9% shooting. After the big win, the All-Star spoke about the Pacers and how they keep surprising and proving everyone wrong.
“It’s ours for the taking,” Haliburton said. “We’re not supposed to be here. Expectations aren’t there. We just keep shocking the world.”
He feels that the way the Indiana Pacers are playing, they are a league-wide threat on every matchday.
“We’re fun, we’re energetic, I just want to prove that it’s not a fluke,” Haliburton said. “We can do this every night. As long as we get enough stops, we’re really hard to guard.”
With this success, the Pacers are undoubtedly one of the upcoming teams in the NBA. Meanwhile, Haliburton is all set to take home the MVP award from the inaugural NBA In-Season tournament for his exceptional performances.
The youngster has averaged 27.8 points 5.5 rebounds, 13.7 assists, 1.3 steals and 4.8 3-pointers per game on 51.8% shooting across the six In-Season tournament matches while guiding his team to the final.
After their win over the Bucks, Haliburton also credited the Pacers bench for stepping up at the right occasion. Indiana recorded 43 points from their bench led by their big man Isaiah Jackson while the Bucks only had 13 points from the bench, which turned the game in the favour of their opponents.
“I know a lot of people don’t watch us play all the time, but we truly have one of the best benches in the NBA, if not the best bench in the NBA,” Haliburton said.
“We’re a really deep team with a lot of different guys who can contribute. I’m sure we’ve got a lot of guys that people aren’t really familiar with, but they’ll be familiar all too soon, for sure.”
The Pacers will now face the Los Angeles Lakers in the In-Season tournament final on December 10. The Lakers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 133-89 in a one-sided semi-final.