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‘Teams from the small market deserve an equal chance
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‘Teams from the small market deserve an equal chance

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NEW YORK – When Rick Carlisle was asked about the illegal screen called on Myles Turner after the Pacers’ Game 1 loss to the Knicks, he initially demurred. He didn’t even hit back that hard on the kicked ball whistled against forward Aaron Nesmith, which the officiating crew acknowledged after the play was wrong when Nesmith hit the ball with his hand.

“I don’t want to talk about the person officiating,” Carlisle said Monday night. “We don’t expect to get any calls here.”

But on Wednesday night, after the Pacers’ 130-121 Game 2 loss to the Knicks, in which he committed two technical fouls and was ejected in the final minute of the game, the first thing he wanted to talk about was the referee and he did it without asking. He said he believes the entirety of the management of the first two games shows the Pacers are not getting a fair shake.

Pacers news: Pacers coach Rick Carlisle criticizes the ejected referees against Knicks

“I always talk to our guys about the fact that it’s not about the officials,” Carlisle said. “But we deserve a fair chance. There’s no consistent balance, and that’s disappointing. Give New York credit for the physicality they play with. But their physicality is rewarded and ours is punished. Time and time again. I’m just very disappointed.”

Carlisle went a step further by suggesting that the discrepancies he sees have to do with where the two teams involved play. New York is clearly the largest market in the country, while Indianapolis ranks in the bottom ten of NBA cities.

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

Carlisle opened his post-game press conference by describing the process by which teams can submit excerpts of calls they believe were made in error to the league office. He said the Pacers always review games that they believe were “unbalanced,” but noted that when a team submits clips during a playoff series, the other team can see what they submitted.

“There were 29 plays in Game 1 that we thought were clearly going the wrong way,” Carlisle said. “I decided not to submit them because I just felt like we would get a more balanced whistle tonight. It didn’t feel like that.”

ESPN reports that the Pacers submitted 49 calls from Game 2, in addition to the 29 Carlisle mentioned, for a total of 78 calls that they found to be incorrect.

Carlisle in particular called a play with 5:08 left in the third quarter when Knicks guard Josh Hart appeared to push Pacers All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton in the back while running in transition. No foul was called during the play. Haliburton in particular has been listed as questionable in the last three games due to lower back spasms.

“The whole world knows Haliburton has a bad back,” Carlisle said. “Hart comes up and shoves him in the back. It’s all on Twitter now. A few people showed it to me. (Official) JB DeRosa is looking right at it. You can see it. He has a vision for it piece. He (Hart) pushes Ty right into the corner and there’s no whistle. That was shocking.”

Carlisle went at the officials in the final 1:20 of the game. Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein was initially called for a double dribble with 1:19 left in the game, but after Hartenstein and Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau argued against it, the officials consulted and overturned the call. It didn’t appear that Hartenstein double-dribbled – it’s arguable he could have been called for carrying, but it appeared he never picked the ball up with both hands – but the Pacers seemed particularly perplexed after being told that they had followed the stairs. ball to Nesmith that that play could not be reviewed or changed. The referees also did not go to the replay of this call, but they still fixed a call that they determined was incorrect.

“That one guy just said he didn’t double dribble,” Carlisle said. “It seemed like Tibs went over there and argued about it, and then they changed it. This is what it looked like. I can only go by what I see, by what I saw.’

Carlisle spent much of a timeout at the 41-second mark chasing the officials as his assistants tried to keep him away, and then he was called for his first technical foul. He kept going and was called for another with 33 seconds left and ejected.

“The two technical aspects, you have to stand up for your guys,” Carlisle said. “You have to stand up for what’s right and what’s not right. That’s it.”

Carlisle said he will submit clips to the NBA office this time.

“We’re going to submit this tonight,” Carlisle said. “New York can get ready. They will see them too.’