Breaking down Indiana Pacers unlikely In-Season Tournament run step by step

The Indiana Pacers fell just short, but their In-Season Tournament run was still amazing.
Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, In-Season Tournament, Tyrese Haliburton
Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, In-Season Tournament, Tyrese Haliburton / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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The Knockout Rounds: A star is born

Going into the first knockout game against the Boston Celtics, a game that was on national TV, the Pacers' first of the year, many were expecting Indiana's impressive run to end at the hands of Jayson Tatum and company, as the Celtics were listed as one of the favorites to win. Tyrese Haliburton and company had other plans, though.

Despite 62 combined points from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Indiana's balanced scoring attack of seven players in double-figures and two players over 20 points proved enough to beat the mighty Celtics in the final minutes. Of course, the star-making performance of the game belonged to none other than Tyrese Haliburton.

In a team-high 40 minutes where he looked visibly exhausted and admitted to having to use his inhaler at times to keep him going, Haliburton scored 26 points and threw 13 assists while once again not turning the ball over once.

And indeed, when it was time for the Pacers to get some points with the game on the line, Haliburton delivered with a four-point play on Jaylen Brown to put the Pacers up four with 90 seconds left, a lead that they would not look back on to eventually win 122-112 and advance to the semifinals in Las Vegas.

With this win, one could say that Haliburton's status as a cold-blooded killer was cemented. After all, 26/13 with no turnovers and the dagger at the end would be enough to convince most people. However, Haliburton and the Pacers were not done yet.

Despite beating the best team in the East, Indiana's road did not get any easier. In the semifinals, the Pacers would have to face a powerhouse Milwaukee Bucks team with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard, a team they beat earlier in the season, although without Lillard in a close affair.

This would not be a problem for the Pacers either way, as they pulled off yet another stunning upset in the tournament, surviving a Giannis Antetokounmpo barrage and holding Damian Lillard to an off shooting night en route to a 128-119 win in Las Vegas to advance to the championship game.

Once again, despite a balanced scoring attack, Indiana's hero was Tyrese Haliburton, as it was most nights. In another masterclass performance where he looked fatigued at times, Haliburton put up 27 points on 11/19 shooting and dished out 15 assists while once again committing zero turnovers.

However, Haliburton's signature moment and one of the best moments of the tourney was not a highlight pass but a clutch shot and his celebration. After hitting a dagger three to put the game away, Haliburton looked at his wrist and stated, "I know what time it is," as a way to mock Damian Lillard and his signature "Dame Time" celebration.

This bold move garnered a response from Lillard himself, who told the young superstar to stay humble during his big moments.