The Indiana Pacers post-IST stretch is getting worse and worse, and now it especially shows in the record. Indiana has won only two of their last eight games, with the most recent loss coming at home to the Orlando Magic, with this being the first loss the Pacers have taken in the popular City jerseys, a trend that fans were quick to catch on to and sad to see go away.
City jerseys aside, the Pacers' record looks far different from their 12-8 mark after the In-Season Tournament, with the recent loss to Orlando dropping their record to 14-14, officially hitting the .500 mark of the season. Amidst rumors of potential trades, unsatisfactory recent play by Tyrese Haliburton, and the rest of the team not stepping up,
The Pacers have dug themselves into a pretty deep hole as Christmas approaches, and the schedule gets tougher going into the new year.
Despite having a fantastic performance against Orlando, logging 29 points on 12/22 shooting, dishing out 15 assists, and grabbing three steals in just under 40 minutes played, Tyrese Haliburton still feels like he is one of the issues on the team.
While his recent slump seems to have gone away judging by his performances against one of the top defenses in the world, Haliburton stated in his post-game interview that his style of play may be hurting the team, displaying a type of leadership that cannot be taught.
At only 23 years old and having just signed a major extension to keep him in Indiana, Haliburton was given some pretty big shoes to fill as the leader of a Pacers team that had not had one since the early Victor Oladipo days.
However, in the time he has spent in Indiana so far, Haliburton has done everything possible to live up to the lofty expectations set on him from Day 1 and has even surpassed them, notably leading the Pacers to one of the best offenses in the league with not the greatest offensive supporting cast around him.
These post-game comments from the guard add further fuel to the notion that he is handling the responsibilities of leading a team in strides. While Haliburton played fantastically in the loss, his first thought was to think about his recent struggles and how he could help the team even more.
Despite potentially playing through an injury and surviving some grueling stretches, Haliburton's confidence and leadership have never wavered once. He has endeared himself to every Pacers fan who was skeptical when he was brought in for Domantas Sabonis almost three years ago.
With Indiana having two days of rest and Christmas to look forward to after the loss to Orlando, it will be interesting to see where they go from here. This current team could look drastically different in a month or two and it is up to the front office to make the right moves to make this team something more than a fringe playoff exit.
With Tyrese Haliburton breaking his streak of mediocre performance with a huge game, this could be the fuel the Pacers need to build some momentum going into the new year and the grueling stretch of games that follow.