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June 25, 2024

Pacers Gut Out Thrilling Win Over Celtics Despite Scary Haliburton Injury

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Jan 9, 2024

The Indiana Pacers pulled out a dramatic 133-131 victory over the Boston Celtics on Monday night, overcoming a monster scoring night from Jaylen Brown and surviving despite losing star guard Tyrese Haliburton to a hamstring injury.

Haliburton Exits With Scary Left Leg Injury

The Pacers received a major scare in the third quarter when Haliburton suffered a left hamstring strain that forced him out of the game. The injury occurred when Haliburton was dribbling up the court and suddenly slipped, doing an awkward split with his legs that left him writhing in pain on the floor:

Haliburton Injury

Haliburton sits on the floor after slipping and injuring his hamstring (AP Photo)

Haliburton had to be carried off the court by teammates and did not return. He will undergo an MRI on Tuesday to determine the severity of the injury.

The scary moment put a damper on what had been a stellar performance for Haliburton, who scored 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting along with 10 assists before getting hurt.

Pacers Show Resiliency Despite Losing Their Best Player

Haliburton’s injury left the Pacers without their leading scorer and floor general. But Indiana showed tremendous heart battling back in his absence behind strong efforts from Bennedict Mathurin and Myles Turner.

Mathurin led the Pacers with 27 points off the bench while Turner was brilliant, going for 29 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocked shots. Despite blowing a 12-point fourth quarter lead, Indiana managed to close out a Boston team playing without All-Star Jayson Tatum.

“It was just a total team effort,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “Obviously losing Tyrese was very difficult, but our guys hung in there. I couldn’t be more proud of our players.”

What’s Next For Haliburton and Pacers

The Pacers managed to survive without Haliburton against Boston. But losing him for any extended period would be devastating for an Indiana team battling for playoff position in the tight Eastern Conference.

At 23-18, the Pacers currently sit seventh in the East, just two games ahead of the surging New York Knicks for the final play-in tournament spot. Haliburton has been the engine driving Indiana’s success, averaging 20.2 points and an NBA-leading 10.2 assists per game as the Pacers have vastly exceeded expectations this season.

Pacers big man Jalen Smith said the team will be anxiously awaiting further updates on Haliburton’s status.

“We’re praying it’s nothing serious, but we don’t know anything yet,” Smith said. “He’s the heart and soul of our team.”

If Haliburton is out long term, the Pacers will lean more heavily on Mathurin and Turner while backup point guard T.J. McConnell could see a starting role. But replacing Haliburton’s playmaking and scoring production is virtually impossible, especially for a Pacers squad lacking proven shot creators.

Indianapolis native George Hill, who scored 12 points in 17 minutes off the bench Monday, said the team will try to rally together if Haliburton misses time.

“We just need guys to step up,” Hill said. “Obviously we can’t replace Tyrese. But we have enough talent on this team where if we lock in defensively and move the ball, we can find ways to win games.”

Brown’s Spectacular Scoring Not Enough for Celtics

Despite not having Tatum (illness), the Celtics still almost managed to steal a win behind Brown’s career-high 50 points. The two-time All-Star shot 17-of-29 from the field and 7-of-11 from 3-point range while adding seven assists, four steals and just two turnovers in 44 minutes.

But Boston struggled to contain Indiana’s balanced attack all night. Six Pacers scored in double figures and the team shot over 51% as a whole.

Brown blamed himself for not doing enough late to close out what would have been a dramatic comeback victory.

“I have to play better in clutch situations,” Brown said. “We fought hard being shorthanded but I have to make one more big play to help us finish it off.”

Player Points Rebounds Assists
Jaylen Brown 50 6 7
Bennedict Mathurin 27 5 2
Tyrese Haliburton 24 4 10

Celtics big man Al Horford added impressive numbers as well in the losing effort, notching a 21-point, 13-rebound double-double along with five assists.

But the loss drops Boston to 28-13 on the year, just percentage points ahead of Philadelphia for the top spot in the East.

What Does This Mean Going Forward?

Monday’s game was a roller coaster filled with plenty of twists and turns. And while Indiana took the thrilling victory, the outcome of the game took a back seat to Haliburton’s injury in terms of long term importance for both squads.

If Haliburton has to miss extended time, it could derail what was looking like a potential playoff campaign for the upstart Pacers. Indiana doesn’t have great depth at point guard behind him and relies heavily on his transcendent playmaking to power the offense.

As Turner bluntly stated postgame: “We ain’t going nowhere without Tyrese.”

Boston will anxiously monitor Tatum’s condition as illness caused him to sit out Monday. Having both Tatum and Brown healthy is key to the Celtics’ hopes of securing the East’s #1 seed.

The two star wings fuel everything Boston does offensively and losing one or both for any stretch would severely hamper their elite offense.

For now, the Celtics need to shake off the tough loss. And the Pacers must hope Haliburton’s hamstring injury heals quickly to keep their feel-good season on track headed into the second half.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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