2. Playmaking masterclass by multiple players
When you have a lot of scoring, you usually have a lot of assists to go with those points, and that is exactly what the Indiana Pacers displayed against the Washington Wizards.
Overall, the team finished with 38 total assists, 10 more than their opponents, and four Pacers players dished out more than five assists.
Bennedict Mathurin was one of these four, dishing out five assists and only turning the ball over twice, a pretty impressive performance given the leaps and bounds he has taken playmaking over the offseason. B
uddy Hield also racked up five assists, showing his improved playmaking after playing some point guard in the preseason due to Indiana’s top 2 point guards sitting out due to various reasons.
However, the main facilitators for the night are two names Pacers fans will be sure to love hearing again: Tyrese Haliburton and Andrew Nembhard.
Nembhard, in particular, impressed immensely. While it is pretty typical for Haliburton to dish out double-digit assists, it is less common for his backup to also do it, and on the same night as well.
However, Nembhard was not letting a bench role get in the way of having a fantastic night, as he put up 12 points and dished out 10 assists in just 21 minutes, showing why Pacers fans love him so much and potentially building an early season sixth man of the year case.
However, as usual, the focus would be on Haliburton, as despite playing only 26 minutes, he dazzled the home fans with more of what they had come to expect: Deep threes, fancy finishes, and, as usual, a passing masterclass. He finished the game with 10 assists and looked like an All-Star doing so.
Since the All-Star Game will be in Indianapolis in 2024, and the league will be returning to the traditional East vs. West format going forward, one can imagine how excited Pacers fans will be to hear their point guard’s name called for the midseason classic, perhaps even as a starter. If tonight is anything to go by, Haliburton is well on his way to a second All-Star campaign.