Tyrese Haliburton and the Indiana Pacers were out to shock the world as their NBA In-Season Tournament finals showdown against LeBron James and the LA Lakers got under way on Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
During the pre-game huddle before they took the floor, the Pacers made their intentions known by rallying behind the battle cry:
“Let’s go shock the world!”
Indiana booked its place in the final of the In-Season tournament thanks to the stellar play of Tyrese Haliburton and a balanced attack on both ends of the court.
The Pacers swept all their games in East Group A before channeling their giant-slayer role in the knockouts. They eliminated tournament favorites Boston Celtics (quarterfinals) and Milwaukee Bucks (semifinals) to underscore their “top dog” standing in the “tournament within a tournament.”
Through all it, Haliburton was at the forefront, going for 28 points, 13.4 assists, 5.2 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 50.5% shooting clip per contest. Against the Lakers, Indiana was up against another undefeated team, led by James, who at the age 38, continues to deliver in a big way.
The NBA In-Season Tournament is being played for the first time this season to add another dimension to the league season. The tournament has a similar format to that of in-season European football tournaments and the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The winner of the matchup will earn the inaugural NBA Cup and all the winning players will receive $500,000.
Pacers seek to continue building around Tyrese Haliburton
With confidence that they have a solid cornerstone in Tyrese Haliburton, the Indiana Pacers seek to continue building around their All-Star to become an even more competitive squad.
Among those the team is reportedly on the lookout for is an athletic two-way wing player, in the mold of Pascal Siakam and OG Anonuby, to run alongside Haliburton.
To achieve that, Indiana is willing to part ways with its future picks and other assets. Veteran NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported on the development, sharing on “NBA Today”:
“(The Pacers) are willing to give up picks and assets because we believe we will be able to re-sign that player. They’re not going to lose him in free agency.”
Led by Tyrese Haliburton, the Pacers are on a mission to become the first-ever NBA In-Season Tournament champions, battling LeBron James and the LA Lakers in the final.