Carlisle: ‘Small-market teams deserve a fair shot.’ Pacers send calls for NBA review, AP source says

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NEW YORK (AP) — The Indiana Pacers have, as coach Rick Carlisle said they would, sent 78 plays they believe were officiated incorrectly from the first two games of their series against the New York Knicks to the NBA office for review, a person with knowledge of the action said Thursday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because neither the Pacers nor the league had publicly confirmed the plays were actually sent.

“I’m always talking to our guys about not making it about the officials,” Carlisle said after Game 2 on Wednesday, a 130-121 win for New York that gave the Knicks a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series. “We deserve a fair shot. There’s not a consistent balance and that’s disappointing. Give New York credit for the physicality that they’re playing with. But their physicality is rewarded and ours is penalized, time after time.”

Carlisle said the Pacers identified 29 plays from Game 1 that they had issue with, but that he decided against sending those clips to the league office because he believed “we’d get a more balanced whistle” in Game 2.

“It didn’t feel that way,” Carlisle said.

It’s not uncommon for teams to send plays to the league for review or explanation, even though the outcome of games won’t change. Carlisle said he’s aware that what the Pacers sent to the NBA will be sent to the Knicks as well.

Among the issues Carlisle discussed openly after Game 2: what he said was an uncalled shove by New York’s Josh Hart into the back of Indiana star Tyrese Haliburton, who has been playing through a back injury, along with a double-dribble call against Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein with 1:19 left that was changed to an inadvertent whistle. New York kept possession on that play and held the ball for 38 more seconds, thanks in part to two offensive rebounds. Jalen Brunson scored with 41.9 seconds left to push New York’s lead to eight, and Carlisle was ejected moments later for arguing.

On the Haliburton play, Carlisle said: “It’s all over Twitter right now because a few people have showed it to me and (referee) JB DeRosa is looking right at it. You can see he has vision of the play and he shoves Tyrese into the corner and there is no whistle. Right in the back. That was shocking and there were many others.”

All that came after officiating was a major topic after Game 1 as well. Officials acknowledged an incorrectly called kicked ball violation late in Game 1 — referees erroneously called it against the Pacers, who by rule couldn’t challenge the play in what was a tie game, and New York took the lead for good 12 seconds later — but the Pacers believed there were plenty other instances of wrong whistles.

After Game 2, Haliburton said the Pacers needed to blame themselves, not the officials.

“At the end of the day we got outplayed. We were right there in the game,” Haliburton said. “But I like consistency, yeah. But let’s not pretend, like, that’s the only reason we lost. We just didn’t play good enough. But at the end of the day it’s 2-0.”

The league is based in New York, which is also the country’s largest media market, according to Nielsen. Among current NBA cities, Indianapolis plays in the league’s 23rd-largest market. The series shifts there for Game 3 on Friday.

“Small-market deserve an equal shot,” Carlisle said after Game 2. “They deserve a fair shot, no matter where they’re playing.”

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AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA

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