Yahoo Sports senior NBA writer Vincent Goodwill previews the In-season Tournament semifinal between rising-star Tyrese Haliburton and the Indiana Pacers and Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. Hear the full conversation on “Good Word with Goodwill” - part of the “Ball Don’t Lie” podcast - and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.
VINCENT GOODWILL: The in-season tournament is here in Las Vegas. It will be Thursday with the Bucks and the Pacers-- one team we expected to be here, one team we did not. The Pacers won the first match-up 126-124.
Guess what? [? Behind ?] Tyrese Haliburton hit a clutch 3-point shot. We saw a few of them against the Boston Celtics and against Jrue Holiday, where he made his name on a national stage. Imagine what he's going to do against Damian Lillard who is not necessarily so defensively inclined. It is going to be an explosive match-up all the way around because you have two of the five best offensive teams in basketball in addition to having Giannis Antetokounmpo, who scored 54 in their first match-up.
The Pacers have no one to match up against them. He gets to the free throw line. He gets in the open floor. Damian is going to play this game He missed the first game. So he's going to be looking for some get-back there. The Pacers are one of the most exciting teams in basketball this year.
This is the first time that they've been relevant since making the Eastern Conference Finals in 2014. Remember that team with Paul George and David West and Roy Hibbert? It's been that long since they have been on a national stage. And they are going to try to take full advantage against the establishment of the Eastern Conference. They just took down the Boston Celtics the other night. They're going to try to take down the other power in the East in the Milwaukee Bucks. Never discount a team trying to make its name on a national stage and doing it against a household name.