The Pacers Whining About The Refs Paid Off, Because The Knicks Got Absolutely Screwed In The 4th Quarter Of Game 3

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Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle was rightfully ticked off at the way officials at Madison Square Garden conducted themselves during the Knicks’ two wins in New York to kick off their Eastern Conference semifinals series. By voicing his frustration to the public, Carlisle was tagged with a $35,000 fine.

Looks like money well spent, Rick, because the Pacers got every call imaginable down the stretch of Friday’s Game 3. But before I get to that, let’s not lose sight of how fiercely competitive this showdown has been. Reggie Miller got an eff you chant from the whole Knicks crowd in Game 2, and that doesn’t even begin to describe the on-court intensity. Jalen Brunson and Andrew Nembhard traded haymaker 3-pointers toward the end in one of the coolest sequences in playoff basketball you could ever hope to see live.

Mike Breen was so stunned, he could barely get the “B” in “BANG!” out for Nembhard.

And when I refer to the Knicks getting hosed by the refs, I’m actually not talking about Brunson’s contact-baiting attempt to tie the score following Nembhard’s dagger.

Debate is raging about that, though, rest assured.

Beyond that questionable no-call, New York might riot tonight over some of the nonsense that was happening in the fourth quarter at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. The final score was 111-106, inflated by a couple late Pacers free throws. Allow me to show you a mere two buckets that went against the Knicks that could’ve totally had them heading into Game 4 one victory away from the Conference Finals.

Josh Hart crashed the glass all night for the Knickerbockers. Forty-three minutes and 18 rebounds for a 6-foot-4 guard/de facto big man. He still has the juice to streak down the court on a fast break, only to have his shot “blocked” on one of the most blatant cases of goaltending in NBA history. What happened immediately after that, you ask? Oh just Isaiah Hartenstein getting physically removed from the paint so that Indy gets a free-access layup.

I agree with the refs swallowing their whistles at times in the postseason. Let the grown men play a little bit. But these plays? Holy actual sh*t. I thought Myles Turner’s “swat” on Hart was a goaltend in real time. It wasn’t reviewed via replay, nor did any other ref realize the ball hit the backboard first. Upon closer review, it’s clear that that’s what happened.

That sequence swung the entire outcome of Game 3. Never mind the rest of ’em. Whether Brunson was on offense or defense, the refs weren’t about to bend the knee to the Knicks superstar — even when he’s clearly fouled multiple times and they get a second chance to look at it!

I love how the ref situated this jump ball for Donte DiVincenzo, too. As if to say, “Donte, you’ve hit seven 3-pointers tonight? OOPS. IT SLIPPED. SORRY.” And he still gets it, runs the length of the floor, and gets clobbered at the rim with no foul called.

*Pacers on Packers re: the above tweet, but shout out to KnicksMuse for compiling a lot of these anti-New York officiating gaffes into one package. Some are from outside the fourth quarter if memory serves.

What a carnival. Clown show. Like the most “make-up call” game I’ve ever seen. Wow. To his credit, Thibs was actually pretty chill at the postgame podium.

I mean it is what it is. Neither of these teams are beating the Celtics in the Conference Finals. If the Cavs are somehow good enough to knock off Boston, I don’t see the Pacers or Knicks holding their jocks. It was just a slap in the face to the Knicks tonight considering how undermanned they are. I believe they deserved the win.

But look, bad officiating happens. Sh*t happens. I get it. Pobody’s nerfect and all that. So how about I end this thing by focusing on the positives. At least the series is closer. Good for the Pacers for being somewhat relevant again. Tyrese Haliburton scored 35 points. He is a certified DAWG. And my goodness, what a freaking shot by Andrew Nembhard. One more time for the people in the back.

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