It was a special night for T.J. McConnell on Wednesday, as he got it done on both ends of the floor in a 114-111 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Coming off the bench, the Pacers guard racked up nine steals in the first-half, setting a new NBA record.
It didn’t take long for McConnell, as he checked into the game with 6:20 remaining in the first quarter. With 15.2 seconds remaining in the second quarter, he had set the record.
The previous single-half record was eight, and the NBA record for steals in a full game is 11, an accolade shared by Spurs’ Larry Kenon (Dec. 26, 1976) and Nets’ Kendall Gill (April 3, 1999).
Along with setting the record, McConnell stuffed the stat sheet and finished the game with 16 points, 13 assists and a franchise-best 10 steals to mark his second career triple-double. He became only the 11th player to record a triple-double with 10 steals and the first by a player coming off the bench (per NBA.com).
Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff praised McConnell for his all-around performance:
“McConnell earned it, he earned it tonight. He’s a pest all the time. He’s super competitive all the time.”
TJ McConnell tonight:— StatMuse (@statmuse) March 4, 2021
10 STL (9 in 1st half, NBA record)
He is the first player to record a triple-double with steals on 100% shooting since steals became official in 1973-74. pic.twitter.com/zv8LpTipAd
The un-drafted six-year point guard prides himself on always being a team-first guy and says that he wasn’t focused solely on snagging steals. McConnell’s defensive effort, and offensive contributions, helped the Pacers come back from a 19-point deficit.
“I was just playing with our defensive principles and trying to help run the team, I wasn’t going out of my way to make steals,” McConnell said. “We kind of dug ourselves a hole, so I’m happiest about the win.”
McConnell and the Pacers will be back on the court tonight as they face off against the Nuggets.