On Thursday night, point guard Tyrese Haliburton and the host Indiana Pacers will take on forward Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics, two of the NBA’s brightest young stars.
In Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game, Tatum, 24, set a record by scoring 55 points and was awarded the game’s MVP. This season, he is averaging 30.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game, which ranks sixth in the NBA.
On Sunday, 22-year-old Haliburton took part in his first All-Star Game. He leads Indiana in scoring (19.9) and is fourth in assists (10.1) in the NBA.
He could become the first Indiana player to lead the league in assists, breaking Mark Jackson’s franchise record of 8.7 assists per game set in 1997-98.
In Indiana’s 117-112 road victory over Boston on Dec. 21, Haliburton had eight assists and scored a team-high 33 points. Before defeating the Celtics in the second half, the Pacers outscored the Celtics by 42 points in the first quarter and held a 30-point lead. With 41 points, Tatum led the Celtics in the loss.
Since Joe Mazzulla was promoted to full-time head coach and the interim title was removed from his title, this will be the team’s first game. After Ime Udoka was suspended during training camp, he took over as head coach interim.
The NBA’s youngest head coach is 34-year-old Mazzulla, who worked as an assistant under Udoka last season.
He appreciates what the Celtics have accomplished thus far this season; Boston had the best record in the Eastern Conference going into the All-Star break. However, he also emphasized that the objective is to play better in the second half of the season.
Buddy Hield scored 27 points and made six 3-pointers in Indiana’s 117-113 victory over Chicago. With his final 3-pointer in that game, he set a franchise record for made 3-point field goals set by Reggie Miller in a single season. With 22 games remaining, he has made 230 three-pointers.
Malcolm Brogdon, who was traded to the Celtics by the Pacers last summer, will play for the first time in Indiana. Brogdon is a strong contender for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award because he is averaging 14.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game.