The Indiana Pacers, entering their Monday night clash against the Toronto Raptors, were coming off one of their best wins of the season, a 133-111 beatdown of the surging Dallas Mavericks. Alas, being on the second night of a back-to-back, the Pacers ended up falling flat against the Raptors, 130-122, after Tyrese Haliburton had one of his worst games of the season, a nine-point effort on 2-11 shooting.

One would think that the Raptors aren't exactly the best matchup for Haliburton; Toronto has a few long-limbed defenders to throw at the Pacers star, which could not have made things easier for the nascent floor general in his putrid outing on Monday night. However, Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle doesn't believe that it was the Raptors' defense that slowed down Haliburton. Instead, he believes that the two-time All-Star simply had an off night like any mortal would.

“He had an off night. I don’t wanna give too much of the credit to them. I’ll look at the film. There’s certainly some things I could have helped our team with that I didn’t do, so I gotta figure out what those are,” Carlisle said in his postgame presser, per The Indy Pacer on Twitter (X).

Indeed, Tyrese Haliburton had plenty of looks that would have gone in had it been a regular day at the office for the Pacers star. The Raptors haven't exactly done anything in the prior meetings to slow down the All-Star floor general; back in November, when Toronto still had OG Anunoby, Haliburton carved them up to the tune of 33 points and 16 assists, while on Valentine's Day, the Pacers star put up 21 points and 12 dimes.

It's always going to be a difficult task for any team to win when their best player shoots 18 percent from the field like Haliburton did on Monday night. But Rick Carlisle's men, at the very least, could take comfort in the fact that this was a second night of a back-to-back, and that this was Haliburton's first back-to-back since his minutes restriction was lifted.

Credit must go to the Raptors for doing enough to get the victory, but for the Pacers, they are now holding themselves to a higher standard, and rightfully so, since they are in the middle of a heated race for an outright playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.