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LeBron James on Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton: 'He's been playing the game this year at an extremely high level'

By Tony East,


LeBron James had high praise for the Pacers first-time All-Star this week

Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton is a 2023 All-Star . For the first time in his career, the 22-year old guard will represent himself and his team in the All-Star game.

It's a well deserved honor for the three-year pro. Haliburton is averaging 20.1 points and a league-leading 10.2 assists per game this year, and the Pacers are 23-19 when he plays.

On Thursday night, Haliburton returned from a multi-week long injury absence for the blue and gold. He finished with 26 points and 12 assists vs the Los Angeles Lakers, nearly leading his team to a win . He was terrific.

Fittingly, Thursday was the day that Haliburton was officially named to the All-Star team. He will suit up in the All-Star game on February 19 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Thursday's game was a reminder to everyone of how good Haliburton is, and how important he is to Indiana's success. Lakers star Anthony Davis took notice.

"He played well. He's an All-Star and it showed tonight," Davis said. Davis was left off of the All-Star team in the Western Conference. "Coming back, they were 1-10 without him while he was out, he's a huge piece for this team. He's the head of the snake."

Davis had 31 points and 14 rebounds that night, showing why he's one of the best players in the league. This is now two-straight years that the 2020 NBA Champion won't be an All-Star, largely due to injuries.

Fittingly, Haliburton was named an All-Star the night he returned from an injury. Despite ultimately losing, the Pacers were +2 in 35:31 with Haliburton on the court that night. Los Angeles just found an extra gear late.

LeBron James, who is within 40 points of breaking the all-time scoring record, played a huge part in the purple and gold finding that gear. He finished with 26 points, including nine in the fourth quarter, to help the Lakers get the win. As usual, he was excellent.

After the game, the King had high praise for the Pacers young star. "[Tyrese] Haliburton is an All-Star for a reason," James said. "He's been playing the game this year at an extremely high level," he added before lauding the defense of his teammate, Patrick Beverly.

James is a captain in the All-Star game, so perhaps he could select Haliburton on to his team. Kings center Domantas Sabonis , the last Pacers player to be named an All-Star, was on James' team during both of his trips to All-Star weekend.

Haliburton and the Pacers will look to get a winning streak going tonight against Lebron's old team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

  • Why a contract extension made sense for the Indiana Pacers and Myles Turner. CLICK HERE .
  • Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton named a 2023 NBA All-Star. CLICK HERE .
  • Kings All-Star Domantas Sabonis soaks in his return to Indiana: 'Everything was great. The vibes were great.' CLICK HERE .
  • Indiana Pacers rookies Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard were named to the NBA Rising Stars team. CLICK HERE .
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  • Follow AllPacers on Twitter : @SIPacers
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