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Pacers outlast Celtics 122-112, advance to NBA Cup semifinals behind Haliburton triple double

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The Indiana Pacers defeated the Boston Celtics 122-112 Dec. 4 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis to advance to the semifinals of the NBA In-season Tournament in Las Vegas.

The Pacers are the first team in NBA history to advance out of the group stage and are the first team to advance to the semifinals of the newly formatted tournament.

“Our expectation is to win. We are a young, hungry group, but we want to win every night,” Haliburton said in an interview following the win against the Celtics. “We are not just complacent being there [Las Vegas], but we want to win.”

In a night of many firsts, Haliburton notched the first triple double of his career, putting up 26 points, ten rebounds and 13 assists on impressive shooting splits of 55/45/100.

“You don’t play on national TV if you don’t win games,” Haliburton said following his first nationally televised game on TNT.

Earlier this year, Haliburton signed a supermax with the Pacers for five years valued at nearly $260 million.

Veteran Pacers center Myles Turner believed the atmosphere of Gainbridge Fieldhouse was unfamiliar but amazing. “I haven’t seen this place in like three or four years,” Turner said. “The energy in the building, it never really died down, it was just really consistent. I think the city is starting to rally around this team and making noise in the right way.”

Turner finished the night with 17 points, ten rebounds, one steal and one block.

Prior to the contest, the Celtics boasted the best defense in the league this season, allowing approximately 108 points per game. The Pacers, who have been something of a meme on defensive this season, are in the middle of the pack, allowing nearly 120 points per contest.

Related: How the Indiana Pacers can improve their defensive identity this season

basketball player throwing flashy pass (assist) during NBA in-season tournament game.
Indiana Pacers star point guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) sends a flashy pass to a teammate during their NBA In-season Tournament matchup against the Boston Celtics on December 4, 2023 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, located in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo/Walt Thomas)

“Nobody wants to run with us when we are getting stops,” Haliburton said referring to the team’s glimmer of great defense.

Following the contest, Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle shared how his team has been coming together over the course of the NBA In-season Tournament.

“We are proud of our team. These guys faced a lot of adversity throughout the game. The third quarter resurrected where we were [in the first half],” Carlisle said.

Carlisle, who is the second-most winningest coach in franchise history with more than 251 wins, has seen many different versions of fans in the Fieldhouse over his tenure.

“When the building starts rocking, when you’re in a home game in the playoffs, that’s when special things can happen. Our crowd was amazing all night long. Hats off to them [the fans].”

RELATED: Pacers unveil program to combat food insecurity

Fans during NBA in-season tournament basketball game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Some of the 16,693 fans in attendance for the Boston Celtics versus the Indiana Pacers NBA In-season Tournament matchup at Gainbridge Fieldhouse located in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana on December 4, 2023. (Photo/Walt Thomas)

Pacers fan DeAndre Fields was in attendance to watch the home team advance to the semifinals of the NBA In-season Tournament. Fields believed the energy of Gainbridge Fieldhouse versus the Celtics was eerily similar to that of a playoff game.

“I have not been to a Pacers game since we played against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals,” Fields said. “The energy tonight was very much that same energy. The Fieldhouse was live from tip-off until the game was over.”

Additionally, Fields said the energy after the game in the downtown Indianapolis streets was just as amazing as the game itself. “There were literally parties in the street. I think the Pacers will win the first-ever NBA In-season Tournament.”

Carlisle also spoke about how winning can impact fans and the city of Indianapolis. “The Colts are on a winning streak, the Pacers, we are headed to Vegas, there are a lot of good things going on in the city, I’m just happy for our fans,” Carlisle said.

The Indiana Pacers will take on the winner of the Milwaukee Bucks – New York Knicks contest in Las Vegas Dec. 7. The winner of the semifinals will advance to the NBA Cup finals, beginning Dec. 9 at 8:30 p.m. on ABC.

Contact multimedia staff writer Noral Parham III at 317-762-7846 or via email at noralp@indyrecorder.com. Follow him on Twitter @3Noral. For more Pacers coverage, click here.

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