Ever since the heartbreaking defeat at the hands of the Lakers, Haliburton and the Pacers have been unable to return to their pre-finals loss momentum and have even regressed in production. While this isn't all on Haliburton, him being such an integral part of the offense means that whenever he has a slump, the entire team more or less suffers. Let's compare some stats.
In the 18 games before the loss to the Lakers, Tyrese Haliburton was averaging 26.9 points, 12.1 assists, and 4.2 rebounds on 52/44/88 shooting splits and 2.2 turnovers as Indiana enjoyed an 11-7 record with him on the floor.
During this stretch, Haliburton elevated his game to levels unseen in previous years and firmly placed his name as one of the best point guards in the NBA and perhaps the best point guard in the East. This was, of course, furthered in the In-Season Tournament, where stellar performances against Boston and Milwaukee further propelled his reputation and put him on fans' radars even more.
This would last until an unfortunate finals loss to the Los Angeles Lakers halted Indiana's momentum and knocked them out of title hopes.
Unfortunately, ever since this loss, Haliburton has been noticeably worse on the court, whether that be his lack of aggressiveness, increased tendency to turn the ball over, or overall inability to get going on offense.
In the six games he's played since the tournament finals, Haliburton's averages have dropped to a dismal 16.5 points, 12 assists, and 3.5 rebounds on putrid 40/28/79 shooting splits. while uncharacteristically averaging 4.3 turnovers per game.
In addition to his numbers looking much worse than just a few weeks before, Haliburton has noticeably changed his style of play recently, becoming far more passive and less aggressive, opting not to go into contact and get a layup but rather shooting a deep three to avoid the chance of injury.
This has been a recent talking point amongst Pacers fans, as many are concerned that Haliburton may be attempting to play through an ankle injury, which is the reason behind his stats and the team's overall play suffering.
With the Pacers currently not planning to make a move for a second star anytime soon and with one of the hardest stretches of the season coming up going into January, the team is going to need Haliburton now more than ever. Ultimately, it will be up to him to carry this team out of the cold spell they are in, but he will have to break out of that slump himself first.
It is already known that the majority of the Pacers' success, at least on the offensive end, relies on Haliburton, and without his playmaking and offensive ability, the team is lost for the majority of times.