Tyrese Haliburton is firing on all cylinders this season. His latest phenomenal game came at a great time, as he’s now helped the Indiana Pacers become the first team to clinch a spot in the knockout stages of the new in-season tournament.

Haliburton did it with style, too. The Pacers’ leading man had a great overall stat line with 37 points, five rebounds, 16 assists, three steals and a block along with six turnovers. His shooting was just as impressive, as he made 11 of 18 overall, 9 of 15 from three and 6 of 7 from the charity stripe.

Haliburton didn’t do it alone, of course. Buddy Hield made all six of his three-point attempts and 9 of 11 overall, while Obi Toppin came off the bench to add 21 points and six assists of his own.

The 157-152 win against the Hawks was the fifth time in 13 games that the pacers have scored at least 132 points. The fourth other times were wins against the Philadelphia 76ers (132), Utah Jazz (134), San Antonio Spurs (152) and Washington Wizards (143).


What’s even wilder is that they’ve scored at least 121 points 10 of 13 games so far. They’ve taken the offense-only approach that  Haliburton’s former team, the Sacramento Kings, thrilled the league with last season and dialled it up even more. When they lose, it’s usually pretty ugly, but they’re still high scoring affairs. Here are the scorelnes in their five losses.

  • Vs. Orlando Magic: 128-116
  • Vs. Philadelphia 76ers: 137-126
  • Vs. Charlotte Hornets: 125-124
  • Vs. Boston Celtics: 155-104
  • Vs. Chicago Bulls 112-105

That has translated into an immensely entertaining brand of basketball for their fans and everyone else tuning in around the world. Led by Haliburton, whose averages of 23.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 11.6 assists, and 1.0 steals on just 2.3 turnovers a game should make him an All-Star lock if he keeps it up, these Pacers are quickly becoming a team that others are wary of facing.

They’re not perfect by any means, considering that they’ve gone 6-4 in their last 10 games and are barely clinging onto a guaranteed playoff spot in a top-heavy Eastern Conference, but man are they fun to watch. I’m hoping the Kings are healthy when they meet in January and February, because those games could end up being like last season’s 176-175 classic between the Kings and LA Clippers.

If Adam Silver really does want a more exciting league, then the Pacers are proof that his plans are coming to fruition. No one knows if their style will work as well in the playoffs, where the Kings were also hampered by the slower pace. For now, though, let’s just enjoy the Pacers for what they are: a young team with a transcendent young star that has all the potential in the world.

Check out some of the highlights from the Pacers – Hawks game below. It’s worth watching.