Pacers Secure NBA In-Season Tournament Quarterfinals with Historic Victory Over Hawks

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In an offensive showdown, Tyrese Haliburton led the Indiana Pacers to a thrilling victory, outlasting the Atlanta Hawks in a game that saw both teams combine for an astonishing 309 points.

In a record-setting game, Tyrese Haliburton showcased his prowess with 37 points and 16 assists, leading the Indiana Pacers to a thrilling 157-152 victory over the Atlanta Hawks last night. This monumental win secured the Pacers’ spot in the NBA in-season tournament quarterfinals.

The game etched its name in the annals of NBA history as only the seventh regulation game to witness both teams surpass the 150-point mark. Setting a new franchise record, the Pacers’ 157-point tally illuminated their offensive dominance throughout the game.

Buddy Hield cemented the Pacers’ triumph with a tiebreaking 3-pointer from the left wing, breaking the deadlock at 152-all with just 52 seconds remaining. The Hawks’ efforts to respond were thwarted when Dejounte Murray’s offensive foul on a 3-point attempt disrupted their momentum. Despite a valiant attempt following an Indiana turnover, Murray’s missed layup in the dying seconds sealed the Hawks’ fate.

As the buzzer echoed through the arena, Hield added the final punctuation to the game with a layup, sealing the Pacers’ historic victory in this high-scoring showdown.

“It is exciting,” Haliburton said of advancing to the quarterfinals. “We are the first team to clinch, and we are ready to go. We have a few more games before the quarterfinals, so we want to take care of what is in front of us first, but we want to win the championship, of course. It would be awesome.”

In an exemplary display of dominance, the Indiana Pacers maintain an unblemished record of 3-0 in East Group A, positioning themselves at the summit with one final group-stage game remaining. On the opposing end, the Atlanta Hawks slipped to a 1-2 record following their recent defeat.

Setting an NBA season high for points, the Pacers delivered a stellar performance with Buddy Hield notching an impressive 24 points, complemented by Obi Toppin’s impactful 21 points off the bench. The team’s offensive prowess reached unprecedented heights, as Bennedict Mathurin’s 19 points, including a buzzer-beating shot concluding the third quarter, further solidified their commanding display.

In a testament to his exceptional playmaking abilities, Tyrese Haliburton stands atop the league, leading in assists, underscoring his pivotal role in the Pacers’ strategic gameplay.

Looking ahead, the anticipation builds for the upcoming quarterfinals scheduled to take place on December 4-5, where the Pacers aim to carry forward their unyielding momentum in pursuit of further success in the NBA in-season tournament.

“Tyrese, you just run out of accolades,” Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. “Fearless, leader, great competitor — so happy for him.”

Trae Young spearheaded the Hawks’ offensive charge, delivering an impressive 38 points and contributing eight assists to their effort. Dejounte Murray also showcased his scoring prowess, securing 28 points, while Bogdan Bogdanovic added 26 points on an efficient 10-for-15 shooting performance.

Marking a significant milestone in shooting accuracy, the game between the Pacers and the Hawks became a historic occasion. According to ESPN Stats & Information, it was the first instance since the Pacers clashed with the Hornets on March 28, 1997, where both competing teams boasted a remarkable 60% shooting accuracy from the floor.

The Pacers maintained a solid 60.6% shooting while the Hawks closely followed with a commendable 60.0% on Tuesday night’s electrifying matchup.

“Obviously both teams were hard to guard, and the scoreboard reflected that,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said. “There was a series of runs, which you’re going to have. It was a tough game. All losses are tough, but I felt like we competed.”

The Pacers have not reached the NBA playoffs since the 2019-20 season, so having an opportunity to advance in the first year of the in-season tournament has been a focal point for the team.

“This essentially is a playoff environment,” Carlisle said. “Atlanta was playing for a lot, too. The in-season tournament is getting a lot of buzz. … This is a real thing. Hats off to the people in New York for coming up with something that, at least to this point, is strong.”

Entering the matchup, both teams boasted top-five rankings in points per game while residing in the bottom five for points allowed per game, foreshadowing a high-scoring spectacle.

The opening half lived up to the anticipation, witnessing the Hawks setting a new franchise benchmark with an astounding 86 points. Their commanding performance established an impressive 86-73 lead over the Pacers heading into halftime.

“We were not giving nearly enough resistance defensively (in the first half),” Carlisle said. “We challenged ourselves to pick it up and be defiant with our attitude and give ourselves a chance.”

Atlanta led by 20 in the second quarter but the Pacers came all the way back and tied it at 107 when Haliburton hit a 3 with just under four minutes remaining in the third. Haliburton scored 26 points in the period, and Indiana led 119-114 entering the fourth.

The Pacers shot 48.9% from 3-point range, while the Hawks shot 48.4%.

“This is a classic regular-season game,” Carlisle said. “It had to be really fun to watch for fans.”

The Pacers shook up their starting lineup, inserting Hield and Aaron Nesmith in place of Toppin and Mathurin.

 

 

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