2. Point guard rotation impresses in full
Pacers fans have finally gotten to see what a full point guard rotation would look like in the regular season in the Cleveland game, as Tyrese Haliburton and TJ McConnell both played, as well as Andrew Nembhard, who rejoined the team following kidney stone removal and surgery.
Nembhard certainly impressed in his return from injury, more or less picking up right where he left off and showing everyone why he has a serious case for best bench point guard in the league.
In a substantial 23 minutes on the floor, Nembhard put up 13 points (5/10 FG, 1/2 3PT, 2/2 FT), two assists, one rebound, and two steals.
While we did see Nembhard play some point guard, he also played off the ball, playing shooting guard alongside Tyrese Haliburton, and that experiment was certainly interesting. Look for Rick Carlisle to bring out that lineup more often during the season if a small-ball approach is needed.
Speaking of Haliburton, where would Indiana be without their conductor?
Tyrese Haliburton’s best contribution to the game wasn’t even on the offensive end tonight. In addition to his always phenomenal playmaking and scoring, Haliburton also showcased his defensive ability with this spectacular snatch block on a Max Strus jumper.
One thing that was noticed during Haliburton’s play in the 2023 FIBA World Cup was his defense. At times, he showed much-improved ability on the other side of the ball and looked like he could develop into a potential two-way star.
In his second game back with the Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton put up 14 points (5/11 FG, 0/5 3PT, 4/5 FT), four rebounds, nine assists, one block, and a whopping four steals in 28 minutes of play.
Instantly, what jumps out, besides the assists, is the number of steals, as Haliburton was very active on the defensive end and showed what a version of him as a great defender would look like.
Only time will tell if Haliburton can bring this sort of defensive ability into the regular season, but what this Cleveland game has shown is that he is more than capable of a fantastic defensive performance.
One thing’s for sure, though: The two young PGs are definitely building chemistry.