T.J. McConnell is the unlikely hero the Indiana Pacers need

T.J. McConnell - Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
T.J. McConnell - Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

T.J. McConnell may not be the flashiest player for the Indiana Pacers but his effort can never be discredited. When the Pacers looked like they were about to lose yet another game before the All-Star break, the backup guard took matters into his own hands.

McConnell was a force to be reckoned with in Indiana’s win in Cleveland on Wednesday and his spark may be enough to get the team back on track. Despite playing with plenty of talent surrounding him, McConnell is one of the key leaders for Indiana.

T.J. McConnell steals a win for the Indiana Pacers.

McConnell put on one of the most impressive defensive displays we will ever see, coming up with 10 steals. Nine of those steals came in the first half, which is an absolutely absurd stat to see but a testament to his hustle in the backcourt.

Oh, and McConnell’s impressive 10-steal performance also came off the bench and attributed to a triple-double. He finished the night with 16 points, 13 assists, and 10 steals, a feat that is not all too common. Even better, it was the first triple-double in NBA history to include 10 steals from a player off the bench.


His 10 steals were a franchise record and just one behind the NBA’s all-time single-game steals record of 11. McConnell was efficient on the offensive end as well, providing 16 points on a perfect 8-of-8 shooting with 13 assists and just two turnovers.

The coaching staff has had good reason to trust McConnell and we have seen him on the floor a lot over the past few weeks. Just the other day, McConnell posted 46 minutes as a starter with Brogdon out. Against Cleveland, T.J. was on the floor for 36 minutes, the third most of any Pacer.

This win for Indiana does not immediately put them back in the mix in the Eastern Conference but it gives some hope before the break. Last night’s win was not overly impressive on its own as the Pacers needed all 48 minutes to pull out the win. The game also saw the Pacers trail by double-digits in the second half before fighting back.

Hopefully, this win gives Indiana some momentum before a rough stretch that begins after the All-Star break.

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