Why Pacers’ Tyrese Haliburton has dazzled in 5 games for Team USA

Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton forces Steve Kerr's hand in Team USA win
Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton forces Steve Kerr's hand in Team USA win /
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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 07: Tyrese Haliburton #4 and Jalen Brunson #11 of the United States. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 07: Tyrese Haliburton #4 and Jalen Brunson #11 of the United States. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Game 5 vs Germany

Tyrese Haliburton would undoubtedly save the best for last, as Team USA faced Germany, a team loaded with current and former NBA players as well as Tyrese’s Pacers teammate Daniel Theis.

Now, following a relatively poor performance against Greece, you would think Tyrese Haliburton would be a bit more aggressive in this game, maybe even going on the offensive in the first half, which is usually quiet for him. This would not be the case, as Tyrese Haliburton would wait quite a bit after checking in to make a contribution, throwing a beautiful jump pass to Mikal Bridges for the finish.

However, the only other contribution he would have in this game would be a nice no-look pass to Paolo Banchero for the dunk.


Despite this slow first half, Tyrese would more or less help take over the game for USA in the second half.

A few minutes after checking in, Tyrese would hit a couple of three-pointers, including this deep one as he tried to bring Team USA back into the game.

Tyrese would just be getting started, however, as he hit this nasty hesitation and layup to cut the lead to 8.

Soon after, Tyrese would hit a nasty hesitation and layup to cut the lead to 8.

A minute later, with Team USA having gone on a 5-1 run since this layup, Haliburton would hit a beautiful stepback 3 to bring Team USA within 3 after being down by as much as 16 3 minutes prior, marking his 11th point in less than 3 minutes.

Haliburton would have a very quiet first 5 minutes of the fourth quarter before getting subbed out, which insinuated that his work was done, since Steve Kerr wouldn’t usually bring him back in at this point.

However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

He would check Haliburton back into the game with 3:10 left and both teams having been tied at 86 for 2 minutes, going scoreless for multiple possessions. Haliburton would change this however, as less than a minute after checking in and with both teams still knotted up at 86, Haliburton would grab a rebound and hit Mikal Bridges for the three that put Team USA up for the rest of the game.

To conclude his performance, Haliburton would get a steal and fastbreak dunk and hit 2 free throws to get his point total to 16 and seal the game, ultimately shutting down Germany’s hopes for an upset win.

After only scoring 1 point in the first quarter off a technical free throw and following his quietest performance of the exhibitions, Tyrese Haliburton would have 16 points (5/7 FG, 3/4 3PT, 3/3 FT), 3 assists, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 turnover, and 2 fouls in about 21 minutes of action 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 jumping out of the gym, further indicative of the chemistry the second unit is building for the tournament.

Unlike the previous couple of games, this was a 100% aggressive Tyrese Haliburton that was looking to score and nothing else, with his 3 assists being his lowest total of the 5 exhibition games, including the previous performance against Greece. His efficiency was also off the charts as he shot 93% from the field, and looked like he couldn’t miss at points, reminiscent of some points during the Pacers’ season where he took over games with his scoring.

I do have to admit, after the previous 2 performances where Haliburton looked uninterested in scoring and his teammates were as uninterested in getting the ball to him, I had a little bit of fear for how the games were going to go for him, scoring-wise. It is very safe to say that those fears have been taken care of and I now have the utmost confidence in Tyrese Haliburton to make things work, no matter what the situation calls for.

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.