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

How did every Indiana Pacer perform in the team's second-round series win against New York?
Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks - Game Seven
Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks - Game Seven / Elsa/GettyImages
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T.J. McConnell

Stats: 7 Games, 20.6 MPG, 11.9 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 6 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 1.4 TOV, 1.4 FPG 51.3/28.6/100 Splits on 53.7% TS

Not enough good things can be said about T.J. McConnell in this series. After looking unplayable in the first five games of the Milwaukee series, McConnell showed the league why he was a dark horse Sixth Man of the Year candidate in Game 6, when he exploded for 20 points and nine assists to go along with four steals to lead Indiana to victory.

The hope was, that McConnell could carry this momentum with him into the second round, as his grit and hustle would be a perfect match to the Knicks team, which was not exactly short on hustle and grit.

Sure enough, McConnell came out and immediately proved who he was in the first two games. scoring 18 points in Game 1 and 10 points to go with 12 assists in Game 2. In fact, it can be argued that Indiana missed a chance to take back control of the game by taking McConnell out with seven minutes to go after he helped cut the fourth-quarter deficit to one point. Regardless, it was clear after the first two games that TJ McConnell would be a valuable part of the Pacers rotation and a huge load off Tyrese Haliburton's shoulders when times got tough.

After a rather underwhelming six points on 3/10 shooting in a Game 3 win, McConnell went back to his old ways and scored 15 points with 10 assists in the Game 4 blowout that was all Indiana. An underwhelming seven points in a Game 5 loss followed before McConnell became the backup of all backups in the final two games of the series, scoring 15 points on 7/13 shooting in 16 minutes in Game 6 and 12 points with seven assists in 24 minutes to secure the win in Game 7.

Once again, this is a man who was out of the rotation to start the season giving Indiana their biggest bench contributions as well as playing a large role in containing Jalen Brunson down the stretch. TJ McConnell not only played his way into a rotation spot but made a case for himself as one of Indiana's best players when it mattered most.

Final Grade: A (Best backup point guard in the league)