Pacers Report Cards: Grading every Pacers player's first-round performance

How did every Indiana Pacer perform in the team's first playoff series win since 2014?
Milwaukee Bucks v Indiana Pacers - Game Six
Milwaukee Bucks v Indiana Pacers - Game Six / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
2 of 11

Tyrese Haliburton

Stats: 6 Games, 36.3 MPG, 16 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 9.3 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 2.7 TOV, 1.2 FPG 43.5/29.6/85.7 Splits on 54.5% TS

Let's start off with the man with the most eyes on him in this series, Tyrese Haliburton. Going into the series, Haliburton's performance was called into question before it even started, with many suggesting that his hamstring injury suffered in January would render him a negative in the playoffs and teams would matchup hunt him left and right.

Specifically, the questions were about Haliburton's shooting, both in terms of aggressiveness and efficiency. Mind you, in the second half of the season, Haliburton only took 13.6 shots per game compared to 17.3 per game before his injury, as well as dropping heavily in shooting percentage as well. From the looks of it, Haliburton's inefficiency woes continued in the first round, but this is not as clear as it seems.

In fact, the only game where Haliburton truly struggled with aggressiveness was Game 1, where he only scored nine points on seven shot attempts. This was the first playoff game of his career, and he sure played like it, being scared to shoot most of the time and generally looking lost out there.

He picked this up in Game 2, taking 10 shots and scoring 12 points, which may not seem like a lot, but it was an improvement considering he stopped being passive and took the open shots, hitting 3 three-pointers in the process.

Haliburton's aggressiveness really took off in Game 3, where he took a playoff career-high 22 shots and scored 18 points, including the most important points of them all, a floater to put his team up three points and win the game in overtime. This game was Haliburton's true playoff coming-out party, as he demonstrated his lack of fear in taking as many shots as he needed to take, and was effective in other aspects, recording a triple-double along the way.

Sure enough, Haliburton continued a decent level of aggressiveness for the rest of the series recording 16, 14, and 16 shot attempts in the next three games, respectively. Additionally, he also continued his fantastic playmaking from the regular season, with his 9.3 assists per game being good enough for third in the first round.

While Haliburton's first round could have gone way better, specifically from an efficiency standpoint, it was certainly a respectable first playoff series for a rising superstar, especially one that was relentlessly swarmed by defenses for most of the series. Haliburton is expected to face an even tougher defense in the coming few days against the New York Knicks, so here's to hoping he fixes some of his efficiency problems going forward.

Final Grade: B (Decent first series, good foundation to build on)