Pacers HC Carlisle compares ‘savant’ Haliburton to former student Doncic

Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle praised his two best players after helping Myles Turner and Tyrese Haliburton extend their winning streak to three games.

The Pacers finished the year at the top, beating the Los Angeles Clippers away at 131-130 in the opening game on New Year’s Eve.

He continued an impressive scoring streak with 129 points against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, before scoring 135 points to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday.

Against the Clippers, Turner proved nearly unstoppable. Leading the league by blocks per game on three separate occasions, he was an offensive force, hitting the team’s highest 34 points on 11v17 shots and all 10 free throws.

He also had a pair of three-pointers, three assists, and two steals snatches, and while they were all Turner in the first three quarters, it was the Haliburton show of late.

Haliburton reached the fourth quarter with just six points, then finished with 24 points (eight shooting on 13), 10 assists, seven rebounds and four steals in the final period alone, scoring 18 points.

In a post-match media appearance, Carlisle talked about how exciting it was to watch his young stars dominate in a playoff-type atmosphere.

“Myles Turner was amazing in this game,” he said. “He didn’t get many rebounds but he knocked the boards out – he kept his tall men off the tables.

“He pressed all night, punished them from the inside when they were small, made big free throws, big and ones – he played huge in this game.

“Tyrese’s fourth quarter was a beast. [points] In the fourth, he played almost every game you can imagine. It’s truly breathtaking to watch.

“The building was definitely alive. Today was another opportunity to play a playoff-quality game in the regular season. [The Clippers] They were packed, they had all their men, and they really came to play. We needed to put together a monster game to beat them, and we succeeded.”

When asked how he’d become a true team leader since arriving in a trade from the Haliburton and Sacramento Kings, Carlisle compared him to another young quarterback he coached, Luka Doncic.

“[Haliburton] He’s a basketball savant type guy,” he said. “People like him, people like Doncic, people like Reggie Miller, feel their time has come.

“He’s resourceful and finds ways to help our team get the ball into the basket. Sometimes it’s not him – sometimes it’s the play that leads to the bucket, or the pass that leads to the pass.

“But for a young player, the will to win is amazing and he really grasps everything to grasp the opportunity he has here and the responsibility he has here.

“It’s great to watch him continue to grow and grow and grow every game.”

Haliburton talked about the difficulty of facing a team that dominates inside in their last match and pointed out why Turner has been such a mismatch issue for teams that like to play small.

“The last time we played with these guys [Ivica] Zubac played a great game – it was almost 30 and 30.”

“We attacked him early, we felt like we were chasing him… He’s a difficult man to keep out of the window, but we were able to do it successfully.

“We got them to play small, that’s to our advantage, because we still feel like we can run big on the court because ‘MT’ ran so well.

“We felt like we dictated the tempo tonight and usually when we dictate the tempo we win games.”

This is the Pacers’ fifth win in their last six games, and their record is 20-17, taking six places in the Eastern Conference, while the Clippers (21-17) are sixth in the West.

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