Pacers Notes: Surprise Run, Offense, Haliburton, Nembhard, Nesmith, Siakam

The Pacers find themselves in the Cinderella role in these playoffs. After knocking off the Bucks in the first round, they put away the injury-ravaged Knicks in Game 7 on Sunday.

Now, they’ll face the top-seeded Celtics in the conference finals. All this after failing to qualify for the playoffs the previous three seasons and getting knocked out in the opening round in their five previous postseason appearances.

“Well, we’re the uninvited guest,” coach Rick Carlisle said, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. “Here we are. When you win a Game 7 in Madison Square Garden, you’ve made history. It’s very, very difficult to do.”

The Pacers shot 67.1% from the field in the 130-109 win, setting an NBA playoff record for highest field goal percentage in a single game. They made 76.3% of their attempts from the floor in the first half. Tyrese Haliburton led the way with 26 points.

“It’s a testament to our coaching staff and our offense,” center Myles Turner said (story via The Indianapolis Star’s Dustin Dopirak). “We have a historic offense obviously, but this guy (Haliburton) got things rolling and everybody just followed suit. To do that on the road when you’re in the Garden in a Game 7 obviously is phenomenal. This is what we’ve been doing all season long and it showed on a big stage.”

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • Haliburton scored a combined 28 points in the previous two games and also had a six-point clunker in Game 1. He was efficient in Game 7, shooting 10-for-17 from the field while making six assists. “For me, aggression is not shots, it’s getting two feet in the paint,” Haliburton said. “I know it’s an old school way of thinking, but the more that I can get downhill, it opens things up for everybody else. Guys were making shots early. I just continued to get to the paint off these two guys (Turner’s and Pascal Siakam‘s) ball screens. Get to the rim and kick out to these guys to make plays. For me it’s just feeling out the game, what’s needed in that game. I know today’s Game 7, unload the clip, have no regrets because I would hate to be (expletive) all summer about not shooting the ball today. For me it was just about coming out and playing the right way.”
  • Andrew Nembhard and Aaron Nesmith made major offensive contributions, combining for 39 points. Nembhard shot 8-for-10 from the field and Nesmith made all eight of his shot attempts. “Those guys were great for us,” Siakam said. “They’re a big part of what we do.”
  • Siakam scored four baskets in the early going against former Raptors teammate OG Anunoby, who was hobbled by a hamstring injury and only lasted five minutes. “I was going to test him,” Siakam said. “I thought he didn’t look healthy out there. … I just wanted to make sure he was OK, but it was a Game 7.”
View Comments (30)