The Indiana Pacers have been staying afloat with a 6-5 record since their star player suffered a hamstring injury. Tyrese Haliburton has undoubtedly become the face of a Pacers team that has desperately needed this level of talent and star power since Paul George left in 2017. Rick Carlisle has led the Pacers to a winning record over the 11 games that Haliburton missed, and now Carlisle says the star player is expected to play tonight against the Celtics. The drive to stay near the top of the Eastern Conference and make the playoffs is going to be even stronger with Haliburton back and he now has another all star in Pascal Siakam to aid in that playoff push as well.
Indiana Pacers Mesh With Tyrese Haliburton Out
This Pacers team as a whole has been playing great team basketball and everyone has been contributing, but it is no secret that Pascal Siakam has been a key part of this success. Since the Pacers acquired Siakam from the Toronto Raptors in a blockbuster deal, he has made his presence felt in Indiana. In the six games that he has played for Indiana, he has averaged 21.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 5.7 assists.His field goal (57.6) and three point (38.5) percentages are both at career highs in the small sample size with the Pacers.
It hasn’t been just the play of Pascal Siakam that has led to a winning record since Tyrese Haliburton’s injury, however. It has been a collective team effort in which they have averaged 117 points per game without their best player. Benedict Mathurin, Myles Turner, Andrew Nembhard, Jalen Smith, and Aaron Nesmith have all had big games and stepped up in the absence of the heart of their offense
Tyrese Haliburton’s Prolific Offense and Return Against the Celtics
Before his injury, Tyrese Haliburton was lighting up the league. He was averaging 23.6 points, 4 rebounds, and a mind-boggling 12.6 assists which is by far the most in NBA. In fact, no one has averaged that many assists in a season for 32 years. John Stockton was the last player to eclipse Haliburton’s current assist numbers in the 1991-1992 season. Haliburton’s output has been truly historic. John Stockton averaged fourteen assists over a five year span from 1987 to 1982, but he never averaged over 17.2 points. Steve Nash never averaged as many points or assists as Haliburton has this season over his entire career and neither has Chris Paul. These are some of the most prolific passers that the NBA has ever seen and their numbers do not compare to what Haliburton does on a nightly basis.
The most comparable player in the history of the league in terms of both scoring and playmaking output is Magic Johnson. He is the only other player to average 23 points while putting up over 12 assists per game. Isiah Thomas has one season (1984-1985) that competes with Haliburton in which he averaged 21 points and 14 assists. When you put all of this into context, it paints Tyrese Haliburton in a historic light. If he can keep up this production he will be the first player since Magic Johnson in the 1986-1987 season to average at least 23 points and 12 assists per game.
That is nearly 40 years ago and the statistic comes from a hall of famer and undoubtedly one of the best players in NBA history. Tyrese Haliburton has placed himself in a league of his own when it comes to scoring and playmaking.
As Rick Carlisle stated, Tyrese Haliburton is expected to make his return tonight against the Celtics. Boston is the same team Haliburton injured his hamstring against so if he does hit the floor tonight he will be motivated. With the historic offensive production of Tyrese Haliburton and the success of the team as a whole since Pascal Siakam has joined them, the Pacers hope to continue winning and secure a top six seed in the Eastern Conference.