Yahoo Sports NBA writer Dan Devine is joined by Caitlin Cooper to break down Indiana’s impressive win over the Celtics to clinch a spot in Las Vegas for the In-Season Tournament semifinals. Hear the full conversation on “Devine Intervention” - part of the “Ball Don’t Lie” podcast - and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.
DAN DEVINE: Boom, baby. In come the big bad blue-blood Celtics, with the best record and the best net rating in the NBA. And out they go, shipped back up to Boston, holding that L. 122-112 Pacers win, absolute coming-out party for Tyrese Haliburton. And I'm interested in what part of that performance, which was 26 points, 10 rebounds, 13 assists, zero turnovers, 40 minutes, first career triple double, what about that stood out to you?
CAITLIN COOPER: I think the before and after effect, I mean he talked after the game. He had been dealing with an illness. He actually had to use an inhaler at half-time because he didn't feel like his breathing was right. So we have to factor in that human element of it all.
But at the end of the second quarter, the game got kind of weird for both teams, where Jayson Tatum was like hey, I've been hunting Tyrese Haliburton for a while. I think I'll stop that and I'll just isolate against Andrew Nembhard. And Tyrese was like, you know. I have--
DAN DEVINE: Thank you.
CAITLIN COOPER: I have Payton Pritchard out on the perimeter. But instead I'm going to call for a screen from Bruce Brown and try to jack up a shot against Jayson Tatum, which typically like Tyrese is so good at-- he just cascades with flow. He knows and processes the floor so well that he can get to the next action and know where the advantages are coming from.
And it just felt like it was a bit of a choppy game for him. Then you get into obviously the third quarter was huge. That set the tone. But in the fourth quarter, I anticipated there were going to be a lot of cross matches. And there were, because by the time they got to the end of that game, Jrue Holiday did end up on Myles Turner, which I thought they would go to as like a pre-switch so that Jhrue could switch out to Tyrese on those screens rather than having Al Horford.
Tyrese was just very methodical in where he was going to find those advantages at, including just deferring to his teammates for a few possessions. Like he knows Aaron Nesmith has Al Horford on him. Let's run actions to get Aaron Nesmith moving. And then he's just crashing and getting to the rim. Like he really was an X factor to the point where they get that last possession, which is the dagger 4.3 where they're running that ATO and they get Myles off of Jrue Holiday, get Al Horford onto Myles.
Myles screens for Tyrese, and then Buddy does what Buddy always does, which is go run and set a ghost screen for Tyrese to create just that little bit of indecision. And Jaylen Brown ends up fouling him. And that's just the dagger. So I felt like those two points really showed that the longer Tyrese is in a match-up, eventually he's going to figure it out, the longer the game goes on.
DAN DEVINE: That's a fascinating point, because that control of the circumstances, the pace, the flow, everything about it, that's where the absolute best of the best gets you, right? Where every possession is about them, even when it's not about them, right? Where the Celtics seemed better equipped than just about anybody to inconvenience Haliburton with Jrue Holiday at the point of attack, with Derrick White there, with Jayson Tatum, with Jaylen Brown, the length and the quality they bring to bear on the perimeter. But you give them enough time, and you give them enough of an opportunity to see what you're doing to him, and he dismantles it.