Haliburton’s Final Stats and Takeaways
Following his quietest performance, Tyrese Haliburton registered his finest performance of the 5 exhibition games he played in. In 21 minutes, Haliburton amassed 16 points (5/7 FG, 3/4 3PT, 3/3 FT), 3 assists, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 turnover, and 2 fouls as Team USA earned a hard-fought 99-91 victory against Germany, taking the game away in the fourth quarter, with the lead-taking three-pointer coming off an assist from Haliburton himself to Mikal Bridges. Despite this fantastic performance, however, Tyrese Haliburton was not the story of the game as Anthony Edwards exploded for 34 points and Austin Reaves also had 16 points in only 18 minutes, including this dunk at the very end of the game that had Haliburton very excited, further indicative of the chemistry the second unit is building for the tournament.
As is noticed from the stat sheet immediately, we got to see a more aggressive Tyrese Haliburton vs Germany, with his 3 assists being his lowest total of the 5 games he played, including Friday’s mediocre performance vs Greece. Against Germany, his 16 points were far and away his highest total of the games. However, what was most notable was his efficiency, as even though his 16 points were the highest total, he took fewer shots than he did in the Slovenia game, where he only scored 10 points. Haliburton’s efficiency was off the charts on Sunday, with him only missing 2 shots and going 3-4 from behind the arc to the tune of a 93% shooting clip from the field.
The difference between the previous game is also night and day, as against Greece, Haliburton couldn’t get a touch even if he was begging for the ball.
This fantastic performance also drew the eyes of the fans, who echoed the same statements of Pacers fans, that the front office better do what it takes to keep Tyrese happy and in the blue and gold for life.
In the previous game review, I stated that only time will dictate how Haliburton’s scoring comes along and if he can keep up his passing. Well, it looks like everything came along tonight as we say a different, more aggressive Tyrese Haliburton on offense, looking for the open shots instead of getting the ball to a teammate.
Haliburton seemed to be in very good spirits during practice as well, telling his good friend and New York Knick, Josh Hart, that he was going to save a special performance for the Knicks, as Tyrese did not play in the 2 games between Indiana and New York after Josh Hart got traded to the Knicks after the deadline. These fun, light jabs are sure to stoke some fire in the budding Indiana/New York rivalry which was furthered this offseason with Obi Toppin being traded from New York to Indiana.
Some people, myself included, are also lobbying for Haliburton to be in the starting lineup, as some think that the combination of Jalen Brunson, Anthony Edwards, and Brandon Ingram is too isolation-heavy for a consistent starting lineup.
Personally, I’d prefer if Steve Kerr put Ingram on the bench, and moved Brunson, Mikal Bridges, and Edwards up a position to slide Haliburton at the point guard, to balance out Brunson’s iso play for Haliburton’s playmaking.
Overall, Tyrese Haliburton‘s performance tonight definitely drew the eyes of everyone and reminded the people just who he is when he wants to score and be aggressive. I’m sure Steve Kerr, Erik Spoelstra, and Ty Lue were watching his performance intently and will give him some more minutes in time for the first tournament game against New Zealand 6 days from now.
Team USA’s first official FIBA World Cup game is on Saturday, August 26, at 8:40 PM Eastern Time against New Zealand.