Tyrese Haliburton has become a late-game force for the Indiana Pacers and he’ll have another chance to prove it Monday night against the visiting Toronto Raptors at Indianapolis.
Haliburton scored 18 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter Saturday in the Pacers’ 131-130 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Clippers.
His fourth quarter also included one blocked shot, one of his four steals and one of his 10 assists in helping the Pacers to their fifth victory in the past six games.
“Tyrese’s fourth quarter was a monster,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “Eighteen in the fourth, made just about every play you can imagine. Really just breathtaking stuff to watch.”
Haliburton scored 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter Tuesday to help the Pacers defeat the Atlanta Hawks and hit the game-winning 3-pointer in the final seconds to cap a 43-point outing against the host Miami Heat on Dec. 23.
“A lot of times, NBA basketball in the fourth quarter is about getting the ball in the guy’s hands and letting him make plays,” Haliburton said. “I think my teammates and the staff, they’ve done a great job of … just kind of clarifying what we’re looking for at the end of games.”
The Pacers will be playing the Raptors for the second time this season, earning a 118-104 home win on Nov. 14.
The Raptors are coming off a 113-104 victory over the visiting Phoenix Suns on Friday, their third win in their past five games following a six-game losing streak.
Toronto opened a stretch of nine of 10 games at home with losses to the Clippers and the Memphis Grizzlies.
Raptors coach Nick Nurse criticized the team’s effort against Memphis on Thursday and told them what he thought in a 20-minute session on Friday. The team responded with a solid effort against Phoenix with Gary Trent Jr. matching his season high of 35 points to lead the way.
“It’s not the easiest decision in the world when you’re going to do one of those sessions,” Nurse said. “I think you’re rolling the dice a little bit, and it’s a roll of the dice that turned out. … Part of it was the technical stuff, doesn’t matter. It’s like 0.05 percent if the effort isn’t there.”
The Raptors forced 27 Phoenix turnovers with Thaddeus Young collecting four steals and Trent and Scottie Barnes each adding three.
“The message was we’ve just got to play harder,” said Raptors rookie Christian Koloko, who had eight points and made his first career 3-pointer. “We’ve got to play harder. We watched a lot of clips from the last game. We didn’t play with any effort.
“(Friday) we started the game, and we were playing really good defense. We were really aggressive. Everybody was doing a good job. Every time we play like that, we have a good chance to win games.”
“I’m probably not going to err on the soft side of saying, ‘It was just a one-night thing,'” Nurse said. “I’m going to show them the good, bad and ugly. I’m going to show them that I’m not backing away from any of that stuff. I’m going to show them what they need to do better. That’s the only way I think I can teach them.”
The Raptors played Friday without Fred VanVleet (back) and Precious Achiuwa (ankle). Both players are listed as questionable for Monday’s game.
–Field Level Media