Tyrese Haliburton improvises his way to wildest assist of NBA season

One of the loudest lessons of the current NBA season has been “Tyrese Haliburton is extremely good at passing.”

He might have completed his masterpiece on Saturday.

The Indiana Pacers guard pulled off maybe the wildest assist of the year on the road against the New York Knicks, turning a potential double-dribble into a 3-pointer via pure improvisation. Pushing the ball forward in transation, Haliburton stopped at the perimeter, made as if he was going to shoot a 3-pointer, lunged forward as Knicks guard Josh Hart closed in on him, then threw the ball off the backboard to himself and redirected it to Pascal Siakam.

Siakam made the corner 3-pointer to complete the highlight play (video above).

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 10:  Tyrese Haliburton #0 of the Indiana Pacers reacts during the first half against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on February 10, 2024 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Tyrese Haliburton keeps doing Tyrese Haliburton things. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

If secondary assists were a thing in basketball, it would be worth pondering whether Haliburton deserved two in the assist column after that play.

Regardless, Haliburton finished with 22 points on 7-of-14 shooting with 12 assists and 3 rebounds in a 125-11 win over the Knicks.

It has been a revelatory year for Haliburton, who leads all NBA players (min. 3 games played) in assist rate with 48.4% and assists per game with 11.9. He’s looking like an improved version of last year’s breakout player, to the point where the Pacers are actively trying to build a contender around him via the trade for Siakam.

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