NBA

Haliburton hurt in Pacers' win over Boston

By Sports Desk January 09, 2024

The Indiana Pacers overcame a double-digit deficit and an injury to star point guard Tyrese Haliburton to rally for a thrilling 133-131 win over the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics on Monday.

Indiana earned its seventh win in eight games despite trailing by 11 points in the third quarter and playing the entire second half without Haliburton, the team's top scorer who had to be carried off the court after slipping and straining his left hamstring late in the second quarter.

Bennedict Mathurin helped offset Haliburton's absence with 26 points off the bench, while Buddy Hield scored 10 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter to help the Pacers also withstand a season-high 40 points from Boston's Jaylen Brown.

Brown finished 17 of 26 from the field on a night the Celtics played without leading scorer Jayson Tatum due to a sore left ankle. Boston lost for only the second time in its last 10 games and was coming off a 118-101 home win over the Pacers on Saturday. 

The Celtics did hold a 74-63 lead early in the third quarter before Indiana put forth a 17-6 run to tie the game and later take a slim 103-101 edge into the fourth.

The game remained tight up until the very end, when Mathurin was fouled by Kristaps Porzingis on a 3-point try with 0.6 seconds on the clock. He made the first two free throws before deliberately missing the third and leaving the Celtics with not enough time to get a good shot off.

Fast start helps Jazz extend Bucks' slump

The Pacers closed the gap on first-place Milwaukee in the Central Division after the struggling Bucks were handed a 132-116 defeat by the visiting Utah Jazz.

Five Jazz players had at least 19 points and Utah led from nearly start-to-finish to deal Milwaukee a fourth loss in five games. The Bucks' lead over Indiana and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Central is now down to 3 1/2 games.

Utah hit 11 3-pointers in the first quarter to take a 41-23 lead after 12 minutes, then shot 54.2 per cent in the second to build a commanding 77-46 half-time advantage. John Collins and Jordan Clarkson led the Jazz with 12 first-half points.

Clarkson and Lauri Markkanen each finished with 21 points for Utah, which had its lead reduced to seven points midway through the fourth quarter before pulling away again late.

Collins, Collin Sexton and Keyonte George all had 19 points in the Jazz's eighth win in 10 games, while Kris Dunn dished out 13 assists.

Milwaukee did get a 25-point, 10-rebound, 11-assist triple-double from Giannis Antetokounmpo on a night in which it played without fellow star Damian Lillard, who was away from the team due to a personal matter. 

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