Tyrese Haliburton had one of the best assists of his career Saturday by re-creating a famous Kobe Bryant moment.
During the third quarter of the Indiana Pacers' 125-111 road victory over the New York Knicks, Haliburton launched the ball off of the backboard to himself and then found Pascal Siakam in the corner for the assist. After the game, Haliburton revealed to ESPN he was thinking about it earlier in the game and that he had never managed to pull off the backboard pass previously.
“I've never done that before,” Haliburton said. “You see so many guys in the NBA trying [to make plays off the backboard]. I was going to try it in the first half, a little off the right slot, but it was kind of a weird angle. In transition, it just felt like there was a lot of room in the paint. So, yeah, just playing basketball, having fun.”
OH MY TYRESE HALIBURTON 🤯
Assist of the year? 🤔pic.twitter.com/e5yWn2IEeO
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) February 11, 2024
Haliburton made the play 12 years to the day after Bryant did nearly the same thing against the Knicks in Madison Square Garden. Haliburton's assist proved to be much smoother, as Bryant managed to pull off the feat with a relative lack of spacing.
The backboard special was just one of 12 assists for Haliburton, the most he's had in a game since Jan. 19 against the Portland Trail Blazers. The 23-year-old point guard is having a career year, averaging 22.1 points and a league-leading 11.7 assists while shooting 39.6% on three-pointers.
Haliburton became an NBA All-Star for the second time in his four-year career after doing so last season in his first full year with the Pacers. He spent most of his first two seasons in the NBA with the Sacramento Kings, who drafted him in the 2020 draft and traded him in a polarizing February 2022 deal to acquire Domantas Sabonis.
Since arriving in Indiana, Haliburton's potential has seemed to be unleashed, and if he can stay healthy the rest of the season and hit the 65-game threshold, it seems like a near certainty he will be named to an All-NBA team for the first time in his career.