Pacers' Tyrese Haliburton robbed of All-Star Game MVP despite great showing

Indiana Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton played extremely well in the 2024 NBA All-Star Game but was robbed of MVP.

Indiana Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton, Damian Lillard, NBA All-Star Game
Indiana Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton, Damian Lillard, NBA All-Star Game / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

Ladies and gentlemen, the All-Star Weekend is over. What a ride the past few days have been, too, from the brilliance of Bennedict Mathurin in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday to Team Indiana's dominance in the Skills Challenge on Saturday.

That brings us to Sunday and the main event, the night every Pacers fan, myself included, had been waiting for: the All-Star Game. Of course, front and center for the Eastern Conference was the leading vote-getter among guards in both conferences, Indiana's own Tyrese Haliburton, who received a hero's welcome in the introduction ceremonies, getting the loudest cheers out of any player by far.

As the game tipped off, Haliburton made sure to justify every single one of those cheers, hitting his first five shots, all threes, to score 15 of the East's first 20 points.

Haliburton also put his passing skills on display as expected, hitting Giannis Antetokounmpo with a beautiful behind-the-back dish.

Unfortunately, as the night went on, Giannis and Damian Lillard did not seem to share that same love back. As the game progressed and Lillard kept shooting at will, fans started to speculate if the Bucks superstars were executing a 'freeze-out' on Haliburton due to still being angry about the game ball fiasco from two months ago.

It certainly didn't help that East coach Doc Rivers is also the coach of the Bucks and was perhaps encouraging this freeze-out. Haliburton even tried his own take on Jason Williams' infamous elbow pass, only for Lillard to miss the ensuing three-pointer.

Despite the possible freeze-out and Lillard's 26 shot attempts, Haliburton still had himself a night, putting up 32 points on only 15 shots and dishing out six assists while shooting 10/14 from beyond the arc.

Unfortunately, the All-Star Game MVP still went to Damian Lillard, who himself had a fantastic game, scoring 39 points, albeit on 26 shots. One thing's for sure, Indiana did not approve of Lillard's MVP win, showering him with boos which may be an indication that the Pacers/Bucks rivalry will not be going anywhere anytime soon.

Of course, many people's gripe with Lillard's MVP was the amount of shots he took. Lillard scored 39 points on 29 shots, while Haliburton took 11 fewer shots and still scored 32 points. Either way, the Eastern Conference won with a score of 211-186, being the first team in NBA history to score 200 points or more in any game, an indication of where exactly the All-Star game is headed.

Overall, it was a pretty successful All-Star Weekend for Indy. Mathurin kicked things off in style with the Rising Stars MVP, Team Indiana won the Rising Stars Challenge, Haliburton gave a respectable 3-Point Contest performance, and he capped off the weekend by almost winning the All-Star MVP on his court.

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With a fun, competitive NBA team and more publicity than ever, Indiana basketball is at an all-time high that the Pacers will attempt to increase in the second half of the season, which kicks off on Thursday against the Detroit Pistons.