Tyrese Haliburton has first signature moment of his Pacers playoff career with game winner

In Game 3 of the first round, Tyrese Haliburton has truly cemented himself as an Indiana Pacers legend.
Apr 26, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) celebrates a
Apr 26, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) celebrates a / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tyrese Haliburton has just made his own mark on the playoffs.

After a chippy Game 2 which involved some in-game and postgame trash talk, shade towards Milwaukee fans, and even an incident involving a racist fan and his brother, Tyrese Haliburton was feeling some type of way going into Game 3 at home.

Indiana returned to the playoffs for the first time four years in 2024, and Game 3 was the first home playoff game in Indiana since Game 4 of the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals against Boston, and the first-ever playoff game at the newly minted Gainbridge Fieldhouse. As Myles Turner said in his own way, the Pacers would need all the fan support they could get to potentially go up 2-1 in the series.

All eyes were on Haliburton from the start of the game, however. In some people's eyes, Tyrese Haliburton lost his status as the leader of the Indiana Pacers after the Pascal Siakam trade, and regressed as a player since his infamous hamstring injury in January. Game 3 was the perfect time to prove those people wrong, as in his own building surrounded by his own fans, the extra support may just have been what Haliburton needed.

First off, let's address the elephant in the room, which is Haliburton's shooting splits on the night. When it was all said and done, Haliburton finished with 18 points, second-most on the team, on absurd 8/22 shooting and an even more unbelievable 1/12 from deep.

Haliburton's shooting luck was terrible in Game 3, with almost all of his jump shots going in and out. Perhaps if Haliburton got better luck on his jumpers, Indiana would not have squandered a 19-point first-quarter lead to ultimately battle for control of the game in the final moments.

However, it cannot be overstated how vital Haliburton was in getting good looks for his teammates. Game 3 showcased just how pivotal his gravity was to get his teammates open shots, especially if he was shooting himself. In Game 1, Haliburton's lack of aggression allowed the Bucks to sag off him without consequences, which he fixed in Game 2 by shooting when left open.

In Game 3, however, he took that to another degree, shooting whenever he got daylight and throwing some fantastic dimes to his teammates, finishing with 16 assists, the most of any player in a playoff game this season.

In addition to the dimes, Haliburton was the most active on the boards he had been all season. Showing no effects of any hamstring problems, Haliburton got up for 10 rebounds, including two putbacks. For the first portion of the game, Haliburton's undisputed highlight play was perhaps the least Tyrese Haliburton-like act possible. With time running out in the first half, Haliburton soared in to clean an Andrew Nembhard miss with a thunderous one-handed put-back dunk, perhaps his most athletic play of the season and his first of two put-backs of the game.

Despite Haliburton's fantastic play, the Pacers still let the Bucks get back into the game and force overtime thanks to the late-game heroics of Khris Middleton. With 6.7 seconds left and the game tied in overtime, Haliburton had a chance to make his mark and record his first signature playoff moment in front of his home crowd. Let's see how that went.

Yes indeed. Adding onto his list of cold-blooded clutch plays, Haliburton caught the ball in the backcourt, crossed over Patrick Beverley, and threw up a gorgeous floater, followed by sinking the And 1 free throw to put Indiana up by three points with 1.6 seconds remaining.

Thankfully, the Bucks did not have an answer to this, as Khris Middleton's last-ditch shot attempt missed and the Pacers won Game 3 of the first round and are currently up 2-1 in the series with a chance to reach that pivotal 3-1 lead on Sunday at home.

One of the keys to Haliburton's fantastic game was simply his willingness to shoot more. After Game 1, the goal was for Haliburton to shoot when open, which he did in Game 2, which led to the victory. In Game 3, Haliburton was clearly more comfortable shooting, in front of his home crowd and all, and took 22 shot attempts. While these only resulted in 18 points, Haliburton still made all the shots that counted, including the most important one of the game.


With Indiana up 2-1, and Giannis Antetokounmpo's return most likely not being anytime soon, Indiana has the opportunity of a lifetime to go up 3-1 in the series with a home win on Sunday. After a performance like that, Tyrese Haliburton should also be counted on to have another fantastic night. After all these years, Indiana finally has a signature moment, and it's all thanks to Tyrese Haliburton himself.