Jalen Brunson and Tyrese Haliburton take their NBA rivalry off-court to 'WWE Smackdown'

The Knicks guard had the crowd on his side at Madison Square Garden

During the 2024 NBA playoffs, the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers renewed their fierce rivalry from the 1990s with a grueling second-round series that went seven games.

Part of what makes the current clash so compelling is the duel between All-Star point guards Jalen Brunson and Tyrese Haliburton. Though the two didn't always face other on the court due to defensive matchups, they're among the best point guards in the league and could oppose one another in the playoffs for years to come.

Keeping the feud (or kayfabe) alive, Brunson and Haliburton took their rivalry off the court and into the ring on Friday night at Madison Square Garden for "WWE SmackDown." The Knicks guard had the crowd on his side in his home arena, but Indiana's star didn't back down despite the hostile environment.

The two stared each other down ringside during a "Money in the Bank" qualifying match with Logan Paul, LA Knight and Santos Escobar. Eventually, Brunson couldn't stay in his seat when Haliburton planned to give Paul his signature brass knuckles to use in the ring.

Naturally, the match couldn't provide all of that drama without the two NBA All-Stars joining the action. Brunson was the league's fourth-leading scorer during the season, while Haliburton averaged the most assists per game. But on Friday, a steel chair and brass knuckles were the featured stats.

Making sure no star power was squandered, the NBA rivals played a role in the match's outcome. Just as Haliburton was about to give Paul his brass knuckles, Brunson jumped into the ring with a steel chair. Knight eventually prevailed when he reversed a pin attempt by Paul and got the victory.

Both players played their parts well. Haliburton talked trash and played to the crowd, while Brunson looked fierce and ready for battle. Not much different from what we see on the basketball court, really. Can the next clash between the Knicks and Pacers — between their star point guards — possibly match up to the intensity of "SmackDown"? Maybe in the playoffs.