Pacers’ Tyrese Haliburton and Team USA lose to Germany: Final stats and takeaways
Tyrese Haliburton had an interesting performance against Germany, finishing with a statline of seven points (2-for-7 FG, 1for-5 3PT, and 2-for2 FT), eight assists, one rebound, one block, one turnover, and three fouls in 19:48 of playing time.
Of course, the first thing that immediately jumps out is his efficiency or lack thereof. Unfortunately, Haliburton forced the issue many times, taking some ill-advised shots, mostly threes, and even missing a layup.
Haliburton also had issues with fouling, as stated previously, with his foul on a three-pointer later coming back to bite Team USA, as those were three points they probably wish they could get back.
However, the main issue with Haliburton’s performance, and perhaps the reason Team USA lost in the first place, was his defense.
Before this game, people were taking notice of Haliburton’s improving defensive ability. They were even excited about the prospect of him taking that new ability back to Indiana with him for the regular season.
Strides were made in his on-ball and point-of-attack defense, and even his hustle was showing promise, with him getting a few blocks here and there, including one game against Greece where he set his FIBA career-high with three blocks.
However, Haliburton’s defense against Germany left a lot to be desired, as he took a major step back. So much to be desired, in fact, that many on social media were calling for Trae Young to get the Team USA nod for the 2024 Olympics instead of Haliburton and Jalen Brunson, despite Young not being known for his defense either.
However, I disagree with this assessment, as Team USA’s major downfalls for this game were their defense and rebounding, which Trae Young would have provided minimal help with, as he is more of a scorer and playmaker, both of which are already taken care of by Haliburton and Brunson.
Speaking of rebounding, this is an aspect of the game that was missed dearly on the box score and in the bottom line, with Team USA’s starting center, Jaren Jackson Jr., not exactly being known for his rebounding and putting up a pretty minuscule performance on the boards.
He finished with only three rebounds on the night and was actually out-rebounded by Haliburton in FIBA play despite being six inches taller than him.
In addition, Steve Kerr refused to play Walker Kessler in the final game, with Kessler getting a DNP for the contest. This was somewhat confusing, as Kessler averaged 8.4 rebounds per game in the 2022-23 NBA season.
Another mistake by Kerr was not learning from the USA’s previous game against Germany and using the ideal lineup that won them that contest in this game, as Team USA’s best lineup in the Germany exhibition win didn’t see much of the floor together today.
Overall, Team USA’s loss to Germany was unfortunate, but certainly avoidable. Perhaps, if Kerr played his ideal lineup more often, Walker Kessler got more time, or if Haliburton put his chin up on defense in those closing minutes, Team USA might be on their way to the gold medal game vs. Serbia.
But Team USA’s work is not yet done, as they will face Canada in the bronze medal game on Sunday, September 10, at 4:30 AM Eastern time.