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Pacers coach Rick Carlisle says they “deserve a fair shot” from the officials
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Pacers coach Rick Carlisle says they “deserve a fair shot” from the officials

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle says they “deserve a fair shot” from the officials

Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle didn’t hesitate to express his frustration with the referee during their second-round game against the New York Knicks. After being ejected in the fourth quarter of Game 2, Carlisle criticized the officials and passionately expressed his concerns.

The pivotal moment occurred late in the game when the officials initially flagged a double dribble by Isaiah Hartenstein with 1:19 remaining (the Pacers trailed 124-118). However, the call was overturned, with officials claiming it was an accidental whistle, allowing possession of the ball to remain with the Knicks. Carlisle’s frustration escalated, leading to his expulsion after receiving his second technical foul for clapping his hands in front of official Mark Davis.

During his post-match press conference, Carlisle opened up about the referee. He started by referencing Game 1, where he believed there were 29 calls that were clearly made the wrong way. Despite not making these complaints, he hoped for a more balanced whistle in Game 2. Unfortunately, that did not happen and Carlisle expressed his disappointment:

“Game 1…29 plays…clearly called the wrong way…Not submitted…(Tonight) Haliburton has a bad back and Hart comes up and shoves him…all the way on Twitter…not a whistle…shocking. Many others; I can promise you that we will submit this tonight. New York can prepare… Their physicality is rewarded and ours is punished… Small market teams deserve an equal opportunity….”

While Carlisle’s frustration is understandable, the Pacers can’t solely blame the referees for their 2-0 deficit. In both games against the Knicks, they were outmatched on the glass. The physicality and intensity of the rivalry are on full display, but Indiana must shift the focus to Game 3. Despite the challenges, they have matched New York’s energy, and now they face a must-win situation at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Carlisle’s fiery comments may resonate with fans, but ultimately the Pacers must address their recurring woes and find a way to turn the series around. The referee won’t change the outcome, and Indiana must take advantage of the opportunity in Game 3.