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Andrew Nembhard: 'This experience in the playoffs is second to none.' Nembha...

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Published Time: 28.05.2024 - 12:13:30 Modified Time: 28.05.2024 - 12:13:30

Nembhard is certainly one of those players who will generate the most excitement looking ahead to next season. With the Pacers were playing without star Tyrese Haliburton in Games 3 and 4, the 24-year-old Nembhard played his best games of the playoffs. On Saturday night, he put up 32 points and nine assists in a 114-111 loss. He backed it up Monday with another gem of a game, leading the Pacers with 24 points, 10 assists and six rebounds, while shooting 10-for-18 from the field. Andrew Nembhard


This experience, though, could be valuable to a young team. A city is energized and excited the Pacers again.

Nembhard is certainly one of those players who will generate the most excitement looking ahead to next season. With the Pacers were playing without star Tyrese Haliburton in Games 3 and 4, the 24-year-old Nembhard played his best games of the playoffs. On Saturday night, he put up 32 points and nine assists in a 114-111 loss. He backed it up Monday with another gem of a game, leading the Pacers with 24 points, 10 assists and six rebounds, while shooting 10-for-18 from the field.

It was not as if Nembhard came from nowhere. His 31-foot bomb to beat the New York Knicks in Game 3 of the Eastern semifinals should make the montage when the highlights are collected for next year’s pregame video. Nembhard was red hot, along with the rest of his teammates, with a 20-point game in a win over the Knicks in Game 7.

Maybe it should not have been a surprise that with Haliburton out – and the Pacers counted out – Nembhard led the charge.

“He could be a starter on any team in this league,” teammate T.J. McConnell said. “He’s proven that night in and night out. What he’s done in the playoffs is truly remarkable, where defenses are game planning even more for you. He just rose to the challenge every night.”

McConnell praised Nembhard’s versatility and willingness to play different roles as the point guard or shooting guard, starting or off the bench. He was not perfect in Game 4. In the final 90 seconds, Nembhard committed a turnover, had a shot blocked and missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer.

But he played 38 minutes, 37 seconds (only Siakam played more) and produced against a team that has two of the best guard defenders in the NBA in Jrue Holiday and Derrick White.

“He came in from Gonzaga and just hit the ground running,” McConnell said. “He never really acted like a rookie. He was so big for us last year. He was our backup ‘2’ and then our ‘1’ when Tyrese got hurt. His ability to just adapt and play whatever we need him to is unbelievable. I’m happy for him and proud of him for sure.”

Pacers’ coach Rick Carlisle said Nembhard “defended at a high level” and did it in the two previous’ series against Milwaukee and New York.

SPORTS