"Isaiah Hartenstein was laughing when he saw me" - Tyrese Haliburton's trainer details ordeal for Pacers passing savant

Tyrese Haliburton
Tyrese Haliburton's trainer details ordeal for Pacers passing savant

Amid Tyrese Haliburton and the Indiana Pacers' surprise Eastern Conference finals run, Haliburton's trainer Drew Hanlen touched on his experience working with the star guard. Hanlen recounted a humorous moment when he attempted to motivate the two-time All-Star early in Indiana's second-round playoff series against the New York Knicks.

In an interview with Sportskeeda's Mark Medina, Hanlen was asked to evaluate Haliburton's postseason run thus far. The 34-year-old highlighted Haliburton's need to consistently be aggressive offensively, referencing his Game 1 struggles against New York.

Haliburton finished with only six points on 2-for-6 (33.3%) shooting as the Pacers fell 121-117 on the road. Meanwhile, his primary adversary, Knicks star guard Jalen Brunson, went off for a game-high 43 points on 14-for-26 (53.8%) shooting.

According to Hanlen, he was so frustrated with Haliburton's passiveness that he flew to New York to call him out. While doing so, he ran into the 24-year-old's father, John, who expressed mixed feelings about seeing him.

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"It’s a funny story. After Game 1 of the New York Knicks series, I had to fly to New York and basically cuss him out for not being aggressive enough," Hanlen said.
"I was walking with my luggage and got out of the car. His dad saw me outside of the hotel and said, 'I hate seeing you here, but I love seeing you here. I hate seeing you here because that means Ty needs you here. But I love seeing you here because I know that you’ll get him going again.'"

Hanlen added that Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein noticed him working with Haliburton before Game 2. According to the NBA skills coach, Hartenstein quipped that he would force the Pacers star to take significantly more shots.

"Isaiah Hartenstein was laughing when he saw me," Hanlen said. "I was on the court before the game watching Tyrese shoot. He was like, 'Oh shoot, your boy is going to be way more aggressive because you’re here.' I was just making sure that he realized that. The quote I keep using with him is, ‘The most selfish thing you can do is to be too unselfish.'"

Tyrese Haliburton fared far better in Game 2, tallying 34 points on 11-for-19 (57.9%) shooting. Indiana still lost 130-121, falling into a daunting 2-0 deficit. However, Haliburton and Co. responded by winning four of their next five games to grind out a 4-3 series victory.

Drew Hanlen on Tyrese Haliburton's offensive aggressiveness correlating to Pacers' success

Later in his interview with Sportskeeda, Drew Hanlen highlighted how Tyrese Haliburton's offensive aggressiveness benefits Indiana.

He noted that Haliburton taking more shots usually leads to increased all-around production from him, including in the passing department.

"In the games that he shot 20 field-goal attempts this season ... every game he averaged double-digit assists except for one game when he had eight," Hanlen said. "... When he shoots more, that doesn't necessarily mean that he stops getting assists. That just means it helps him get easier assists."

Tyrese Haliburton and the Pacers once again find themselves down 2-0 in their East finals matchup against the Boston Celtics. Haliburton is averaging 17.5 points per game through two outings. That includes mustering a 10-point performance before exiting with left hamstring soreness during Thursday's 126-110 Game 2 blowout loss.

So, if available, Indiana will likely need Haliburton to step up offensively as he did in Round 2 if it hopes to make another improbable comeback.

Also Read: "I'm not telling Jayson Tatum how to stop Tyrese Haliburton": Elite NBA trainer talks about the mindset of training 2 Eastern Conference superstars

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