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Coach Rick Carlisle: Pacers ‘deserve a fair shot’ from officials

Coach Rick Carlisle: Pacers ‘deserve a fair shot’ from officials

NEW YORK – The Indiana Pacers made an organizational decision earlier this week not to address an issue publicly or privately when they faced several crucial decisions in their Game 1 loss to the New York Knicks.

But Pacers coach Rick Carlisle abandoned the strategy Wednesday, erupting in the final minute of the Knicks’ 130-121 Game 2 victory that gave them a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Carlisle received two technical fouls and was ejected. He was upset about several decisions, especially when the officials overturned a double dribbling violation that could have given the Pacers a key possession while the game was still in doubt.

That was the opposite of what happened in Game 1, where a foul against the Pacers was wrongly called against the Pacers but not corrected, a decision that ultimately cost the team three crucial points.

Carlisle reached his boiling point in Game 2. He said the Pacers identified 29 questionable calls that they said were unfairly placed against them Monday night, but chose not to send them to the league office for review. They will make another edit of Wednesday’s game and send it out this time, Carlisle said.

“I decided not to submit them because I just felt like we were going to get a more balanced whistle tonight. It didn’t feel like that,” Carlisle said. “I always talk to our guys about not talking about the officials, but we deserve a fair chance.”

The Knicks outscored the Pacers 26-13, scoring 67 points in the second half after the Pacers took a 10-point lead at the break. The Knicks, as is their wont, were ruthless in chasing and acquiring loose balls and flying around the defense, often causing contact.

The Madison Square Garden crowd, which was thrilled when star Jalen Brunson returned in the second half after missing the entire second quarter due to a right foot problem, made the environment hostile to the Pacers, and Carlisle said he believed this led to unfair performance. with the big market Knicks being favored.

“Small-market teams deserve an equal opportunity,” Carlisle said. “They deserve a fair chance wherever they play.”

The Pacers will also have to take a closer look at their defensive film. After allowing the Knicks to shoot 65% in the second half of Game 1 as they lost a lead, the Knicks shot 67% in the third quarter of Game 2. The Knicks erased a 10-point deficit by beating Indiana 36-18 behind Brunson’s back, turning the game around.

“Let’s not pretend (officiating) is the only reason we lost; we just didn’t play well enough,” said Tyrese Haliburton, who scored 34 points coming back from facing just six in Game 1. “Be better.”

Another issue for the Pacers review is how to guard Brunson. Backup guard TJ McConnell was somewhat effective in slowing Brunson in Games 1 and 2. But Carlisle picked him off with seven minutes to play and the Knicks were up by just two points, replacing him with starter Andrew Nembhard.

Brunson scored 10 of his 29 points with Nembhard as his primary defender and is 14 of 21 scoring 33 points against Nembhard through the first two games, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Carlisle said he considered bringing back McConnell, who had a plus-10 plus/minus that night, but decided against it because the team hasn’t played like that all season.

McConnell supported his coach’s decision.

“Rick is a Hall of Fame coach and has been doing this for a long time, so the rotations that he plays, we trust that they are the right ones, and I fully support him,” McConnell said. “Every time my number is called, I’m ready, and if that means sitting on the bench to support my team.”