Mar 9, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) celebrates a made shot in the overtime against the Houston Rockets at Bainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski
In his first outing with the Team USA Men’s Senior National Team, All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton picked up where he left off with the Pacers this season, dishing out assists at a remarkable pace.
He had six assists in just seven first-half minutes and finished with 12 assists in 21 for the game against just one turnover in a 117-74 blowout win over Puerto Rico in a showcase game at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in preparation for the FIBA World Cup in the Philippines later this month.
Team USA learned early in the first half that they could be more effective if they pushed the pace against Puerto Rico, especially because they were having troubleshooting from outside but little trouble scoring at the rim. As he generally does, Haliburton put the pedal to the floor as often as he could. He put pressure on Puerto Rico even off of made baskets and ran dynamite breaks off of misses and turnovers.
He seemed comfortable not shooting very much himself and had just one field goal attempt in the first half and eight assists before he’d scored a point. However, he scored seven points on three baskets in the fourth quarter. The first was a drive and finish through contact at the rim. The second was a wide-open 3-pointer and the third was a fast-break dunk that served as an exclamation point for the win.
Haliburton also grabbed four rebounds and blocked a shot. The US was +24 when he was on the floor.
Haliburton came off the bench behind starting point guard Jalen Brunson of the New York Knicks. Haliburton made a case to take over Brunson’s starting job, but Brunson was steady himself with 11 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block. The US was +23 when he was on the floor in his 22 minutes.