Indiana Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton will play in the team's against the Boston Celtics on Monday, head coach Rick Carlisle told reporters. Haliburton missed the Pacers' win over the Miami Heat on Dec. 2 with a bruised knee and is also battling an upper respiratory infection.
If Monday's contest was a normal regular season game, it seems unlikely that Haliburton would play, but considering the stakes of the IST, it makes sense that he's giving it a go. That's good news for the Pacers, who were destroyed by 51 points when Haliburton was sidelined for their first meeting with the Celtics on Nov. 1.
After making his first All-Star appearance last season, Haliburton has been unstoppable so far in this campaign. He's averaging 27.0 points and 11.8 assists per game on 51.9/44.7/88.0 shooting splits. Every single one of those numbers is a career-high, and he's leading the league in assists.
Early on, he joined Tiny Archibald, Oscar Robertson and James Harden as the only players in league history to record at least 375 points and 175 assists through the first 15 games of a season. And in November he joined Michael Jordan and LeBron James as the only players ever to average at least 25 points and 10 assists for an entire month while shooting 50% from the field and 40% from 3-point land.
With Haliburton leading the way,. While they don't play much defense on the other end, their outrageous offense has them off to a 10-8 start, which is good for sixth place in the Eastern Conference and has them in line to make the playoffs for the first time since 2020.
Before they start looking too far ahead, however, they have the inaugural NBA Cup to chase this week. Beating the league-leading Celtics will be tough, but they're at home and capable of outscoring anyone. If they can win that game, then it's off to Las Vegas for the semifinals, where anything can happen.