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Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks - Game Two

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There’s no denying that the officiating has been *interesting* in the first two games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers. 

Between the phantom kicked ball in Game 1, the called-off double dribble, and the blatant shove to Tyrese Haliburton that the officials missed in Game 2, the NBA referees in charge of the series haven’t exactly been covering themselves in glory. Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said as much after Game 2, when he told reporters he would be submitting several calls to the league for review. 

The officials have been a problem, sure. But they aren’t the reason the Pacers are down 0-2. That falls on the Pacers, not the officials, something T.J McConnell acknowledged in the postgame press conference.  

The Pacers defense has been a problem all season, but against the Knicks, it’s been horrific. The Knicks aren’t just beating the Pacers when on offense, they’re playing with entirely more effort than them. There have been multiple instances of the Pacers falling completely asleep in transition, of leaving the Knicks best shooters wide open for 3’s. The refs aren’t responsible for those, or for Pascal Siakam suddenly not being able to buy a shot from the free throw line and beyond the arc. They also aren’t the reason Carlisle has been far too hesitant to pull guys when they aren’t effective, or for Haliburton struggling through Game 1 and going cold at the worst time in Game 2.  

The Pacers do have an argument that the officiating has not be balanced. They just can’t place the blame for the hole they find themselves in on the referees. That belongs squarely with themselves.  

During Thursday’s edition of The Ride With JMV, John spoke to Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star, as well as Eddie Gill of the Pacers Radio Network. Both spoke about the Pacers defensive woes, as well as how, while the officials have been bad, they aren’t the reason the Pacers dropped the first two games. Listen to those conversations and more below, and tune into The Ride With JMV weekdays from 3-6pm on 93.5/107.5 The Fan! 

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