Pacers’ Tyrese Haliburton To Miss Game 3

2:04pm: Haliburton will be out for Game 3 and will be reevaluated ahead of Game 4, according to Wojnarowski, who says the guard’s availability for that game “remains in serious question” (Twitter link). Indiana will err on the side of caution with its franchise player, Woj adds.

1:40pm: Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton, who re-injured his left hamstring on Thursday, is expected to miss Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday, according to reports from Shams Charania and Joe Vardon of The Athletic (Twitter link) and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Haliburton exited Game 2 in the third quarter due to hamstring soreness and didn’t return. As we detailed that night, the issue was especially concerning because the Pacers star strained his left hamstring in January and missed 10 games as a result of that injury — he attempted to return after just five games, but ended up being out for five more following that lone appearance.

The Pacers, who entered the Eastern finals as massive underdogs, are already facing a 2-0 deficit in their series vs. the Celtics and will face even longer odds without Haliburton, the engine who drives Indiana’s offense. The 24-year-old was named to the All-NBA Third Team this week after averaging 20.1 points and a league-leading 10.9 assists per game during the regular season. He has put up 18.7 PPG and 8.2 APG in the playoffs.

As we wrote on Friday, the team has solid alternatives at point guard in Andrew Nembhard and T.J. McConnell, but neither player can replicate the kind of play-making and outside shooting that Haliburton provides.

“He does so many things for our team where everyone just has to move the ball more and get in the paint more,” McConnell said. “The ball movement, like I said, just has to be at another level. He gets 10 assists in his sleep. It’s hard for another person on our team to replicate that. It’s a group effort when he goes down to kinda get people the ball and get moving.”

While Nembhard and McConnell will take on increased responsibilities at point guard, the Pacers will also lean more heavily on star forward Pascal Siakam to initiate the offense and be the team’s go-to scoring option.

In related news, Celtics guard Jrue Holiday – Haliburton’s primary defender – has been added to the injury report for Game 3 due to a non-COVID illness, as Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston tweets. Holiday is listed as questionable to play.

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