Another sport, one other win for the purple sizzling Indiana Pacers, who proceed to point out that they haven’t any need to tank for Victor Wembanyama. In a New Year’s Eve matinee on Saturday, they outlasted the Los Angeles Clippers, 131-130, to select up their third consecutive win and fifth of their previous six video games.
Paul George poured in a season-high 45 factors for the Clippers, and Kawhi Leonard added 24 factors, 5 rebounds and 7 assists in a stable all-around efficiency, however these two weren’t sufficient in opposition to a well-balanced Pacers crew that had seven gamers rating a minimum of 9 factors and shot 52.3 p.c from the sphere.
Myles Turner led the best way for the Pacers within the scoring division with 34 factors, however the principle story from this sport was Tyrese Haliburton’s beautiful fourth quarter. The third-year guard had one other terrific sport, ending with 24 factors, seven rebounds, 10 assists, zero turnovers and 4 steals on 8-of-13 from the sphere. Eighteen of these factors got here within the fourth quarter as he stepped as much as duel George and hit what turned out to be the game-sealing free throw.
After trailing by 14 factors within the first half, the Clippers fought their manner again into the sport because of George and Leonard, who took turns scoring from everywhere in the flooring. When they lastly took the lead within the fourth quarter, standard knowledge urged they might draw back down the stretch and present why they have been one of many preseason title contenders within the Western Conference.
Haliburton had different concepts. One explicit stretch within the last minutes, when he went shot-for-shot with George and scored 12 consecutive factors for the Pacers, was a showcase for Haliburton’s offensive presents. During that run he had an off-the-dribble 3-pointer, a driving layup, a turnaround leaner within the lane and a handful of free throws. The Clippers had no reply for his quickness and talent to get into the enamel of the protection.
“Tyrese’s fourth quarter was monster,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle stated. “Eighteen within the fourth, made nearly each play you may think about. Really simply breathtaking stuff to look at.”
While Haliburton has been superior all season, and is a number one candidate for Most Improved Player, the previous few weeks have actually been one thing. During this 5-1 stretch — which incorporates wins over the Celtics, Cavaliers and Clippers — he is placing up 27.3 factors, 7.8 assists and 1.8 steals per sport, whereas taking pictures 54.8 p.c from the sphere and 50 p.c from 3-point land. In addition to his clutch fourth quarter on this sport, he had a career-high 43 factors and the game-winning 3-pointer in opposition to the Heat on Dec. 23.
“He’s a basketball savant sort man,” Carlisle stated. “People like him, individuals like [Luka] Doncic, individuals like Reggie Miller, they sense when their time is coming. He’s resourceful and he finds methods to assist our crew get the ball within the basket. Sometimes it isn’t him. Sometimes he makes the play that results in the bucket or the cross that results in the cross, however his will to win is spectacular for a younger participant. … It’s superb to look at him proceed to develop, develop, develop each single sport.”
With Haliburton main the best way, the Pacers are actually 20-17 and simply three wins shy of hitting the over for their preseason win complete projection of twenty-two.5. They additionally sit alone in sixth place within the Eastern Conference, which as issues stand would give them a assured playoff spot for the primary time since 2020. Not a nasty approach to head into 2023.
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