Matchup 3: Tyrese Haliburton outdoes himself in a rousing victory
Going into the 2022-23 season, the first Pacers/Celtics matchup of the season came early, on December 21, 2022, the 30th game of the season for Indiana. Surprisingly, the 16-16 Pacers came away 1-0 in the season series early, winning 117-112 against a 22-12 Celtics team at full strength.
Once again, it was Tyrese Haliburton at the center of attention, as he outdid his previous scoring performance with 33 points and eight assists. Haliburton was pretty efficient from the field again, shooting 12/24 from the field and 6/13 from deep as he helped lead the Pacers to an early season feel-good win against Boston, further boosting playoff hopes at the time.
Perhaps this had a little to do with Haliburton receiving some all-too-familiar criticism from Wally Szczerbiak a short while earlier.
In addition to Haliburton, former Celtic Aaron Nesmith played well in his return to Boston, finishing second on the team in scoring with 15 points on 6/13 shooting in a little revenge game against the Celtics, who traded him a few months earlier to acquire Malcolm Brogdon.
While Boston put up an admirable performance in front of their home fans, led by 41 points from Jayson Tatum, it wasn’t enough in the end, as the Pacers still squeaked by.