Controversy Swirls: Pacers Submit 78 Plays for Review in NBA Semifinals

The Indiana Pacers have escalated their concerns to the NBA after identifying a combined total of 78 plays they believe were misjudged by referees during the first two games of their Eastern Conference semifinals against the New York Knicks. Pacers coach Rick Carlisle highlighted the issue in a post-game discussion following a 130-121 loss in Game 2, which put Indiana down 0-2 in the series.

The Pacers pinpointed 29 questionable calls in the opening game and an additional 49 in the second. Initially, the decision was made not to forward the Game 1 incidents for review; however, after observing similar issues in Game 2, the team reversed its decision and submitted all questionable calls to the NBA office. This submission, following league protocol, was also shared with the Knicks, ensuring transparency between the teams.

The situation reached a boiling point when Carlisle was ejected from Game 2 after receiving two technical fouls during the final minute. This ejection came amidst what Carlisle perceived as a pattern of unfair officiating, particularly frustrating given the high stakes of the playoff atmosphere. “I’m always talking to our guys about not making it about the officials, but we deserve a fair shot,” Carlisle stated emphatically during his post-game comments.

Carlisle also voiced a broader concern about the fairness in officiating for smaller market teams, suggesting that the Pacers were at a disadvantage against a team from a larger market like New York. His comments resonate with ongoing discussions in the NBA about the parity between teams from various market sizes.

Despite the controversy surrounding the officiating, Pacers’ star player Tyrese Haliburton emphasized the need for the team to focus on their own performance. Haliburton, who rebounded from a disappointing six-point outing in Game 1 to score 34 points in Game 2, pointed out that the Pacers’ own gameplay shortcomings contributed to their losses. “Let’s not pretend like [officiating] is the only reason we lost. We just didn’t play good enough,” he said.

The Pacers also faced challenges on the defensive end, particularly in containing Knicks’ standout Jalen Brunson, who significantly impacted the games’ outcomes. After returning from a foot injury in Game 2, Brunson shot an impressive 67% in the third quarter, helping New York to outscore Indiana by a significant margin. This performance has forced the Pacers to reevaluate their defensive strategy, especially in guarding Brunson as the series moves back to Indianapolis for Game 3.

As the Pacers regroup for the next game, there’s a clear focus on refining their strategies and maintaining composure, despite the frustrations with officiating. With a strong belief in their coach and each other, the Pacers are prepared to adjust and contend vigorously as the series progresses.

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