The Indiana Pacers need Tyrese Haliburton to not fold down the stretch

Yes, the refs were bad in Game 1. But the Pacers got some bad play from Tyrese Haliburton down the stretch that was also costly.
May 6, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) reacts during the
May 6, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) reacts during the / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The referees were the story in Game 1 of the Pacers/Knicks series, as it should have been. They were terrible all game but especially down the stretch. While the Pacers played very well on the road, they weren't able to overcome some obviously horrendous calls.

Still, they had a shot to indeed overcome them late in the game. Instead, Tyrese Haliburton had some costly mistakes. Haliburton shot the ball just six times and only made two threes. He finished the game 2-6 for just 6 points. He also had eight assists and a couple of rebounds, but he did add four steals.

The problem was how he played late in the game. He had two costly turnovers down the stretch and ran Myles Turner into the moving screen that pretty much put the game on ice. He had the third-worst plus/minus on the team with a -12. Simply put, he was not good enough.

The Pacers need more from their franchise player Tyrese Haliburton

When the Pacers gave Tyrese Haliburton a max extension, they did so for games like this. They paid him as their best player. He has not played like their best player for the last three months. On the biggest stage in Game 1, he didn't look like he was up for the challenge.

If the Pacers are going to win this series, they need him to be the old Haliburton. They need him to be aggressive scoring the ball both in the paint and beyond the arc. He certainly can't be turning the ball over in crunch-time. That's the worst possible thing he can do.

It will be interesting to see how he bounces back. Overall, the Pacers played pretty well in a hostile environment. The bench was phenomenal and they shot 52% from the field. The refs and transition defense were too big issues. That, and untimely turnovers at the end of the game.

The Pacers' bench could be the key to winning series vs. Knicks. dark. Next. Next story

Indiana had just 7 turnovers in the game. Three of those came in the final four minutes. They have to play with more poise late in these playoff games.