Pacers Notes: Nembhard, McConnell, Carlisle, Haliburton

The Pacers came just one play short of besting the Celtics in Game 3 of their ongoing Eastern Conference Finals series despite playing without All-NBA point guard Tyrese Haliburton. Second-year guard Andrew Nembhard played a significant role in the team’s competitive showing, writes Kyle Neddenriep of The Indianapolis Star. The Gonzaga alum racked up 32 points and nine assists, against just two turnovers, while he helped try to fill the scoring void created by Haliburton’s absence

“The confidence he plays with is incredible,” backup point guard T.J. McConnell said of Nembhard. “You see him bringing the ball up the floor, he’s getting people involved, he’s shooting it and making it at high level. In the playoffs, in the regular season, he’s coming off the bench, he’s starting at two, he’s starting at one, he’s the backup point guard. As a kid at his age, getting thrown around like that can maybe mess with your mental (side). But he’s answered the bell all year, his whole career.”

There’s more out of Indiana:

  • McConnell did what he could to help the Pacers withstand an eventual 18-point Boston rally to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series on Saturday, according to James Boyd of The Athletic. The Celtics won, 114-111, and are now just one game away from making their second NBA Finals in the last three years. McConnell single-handedly outscored the Celtics’ bench 23-4 himself. Even facing a seemingly insurmountable hole, the former Arizona standout is hoping his club remains dialed in. “Obviously, this one stings, but there’s no guy in this locker room that’s packed it in,” McConnell said. “We’re gonna try to get one here and extend this series and then go back to Boston and try to make things difficult. But there’s no guy in this locker room that’s gonna quit.”
  • Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle spoke post-game about making up for this Game 3 letdown, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “Believe me when I tell you, we are going after them,” Carlisle remarked. “We’re going to be back here [Gainbridge Fieldhouse] Monday night, looking to extend the series, and we’re going to come at them even harder.” Indiana had been up by eight with 2:38 left in regulation, before Boston’s two-way brilliance powered the team to a 13-2 final kick.
  • Although Nembhard submitted the game of his life in the absence of Haliburton (his 32-point night was a career-best), the Pacers still clearly felt the absence of their best player, notes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Big man Myles Turner and star forward Pascal Siakam, a free agent this summer, contributed what they could, but Siakam conceded post-game that the club was prone to sloppiness in the second half. “We did a good job in the first half, but in the second half, not as much,” Siakam said. “They made runs and we weren’t able to come back and have that same intensity. We had a couple of turnovers, and against a team like that, no team is safe, so we have to play well until the end.” It was reported earlier today that Haliburton’s status for the rest of the series is very much in doubt.
View Comments (4)