Tyrese Haliburton continued to prove he is one of the most dominant players in the NBA by scoring the first hat-trick of his career with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists to help the Indiana Pacers defeat the favored Indiana Pacers of the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics, by a score of 122 to 112, Monday evening.
With this victory, the Pacers qualified for the semi-finals of the 1st NBA intraseason tournament which will take place later this week in Las Vegas.
Haliburton received significant support from his teammates. Myles Turner added 17 points and 10 rebounds, and seven Pacers crossed the 10-point mark, including Bennedict Mathurin who scored 16.
After being led 56-48 at halftime, Haliburton set the tone in the 3rd quarter for the Pacers by scoring eight points in the first four minutes of the engagement which was dominated 37 to 23 by Indiana.
For the Pacers, it was a new experience. Crowds waving towels and chanting “De-fense!” “, to the strong media presence, through the stakes of the direct elimination and the festive atmosphere, the players of the young Indiana team had never had an experience so close to playoff basketball . Even Haliburton and veteran 3-point specialist Buddy Hield have yet to play in an NBA postseason game.
The Celtics were led by Jayson Tatum (32 points and 12 rebounds) and Jaylen Brown (30 points and 9 rebounds). All-Star Kristaps Porzingis missed his fourth straight game with left calf soreness.
The Pacers will face the winner of the duel between the Bucks and the Knicks in the semi-finals on Thursday evening.
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