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Pacers log 78 complaints about refs after getting mauled by Knicks in NBA Playoffs



The Indiana Pacers are buying into the idea that there’s big market bias happening in their second round series against the New York Knicks in the 2024 NBA Playoffs — and they’ve been taking their grievance to the league office. The Pacers filed protests against 49 calls in Game 2, which they felt were incorrect and gave the Knicks an advantage. This comes in addition to protesting 29 calls in Game 1.

The question of fair officiating vs. big market bias been a long-term talking point among NBA fans, toeing the line of being a conspiracy theory. It’s difficult to make a determination on whether Indiana has a point or not without seeing the calls in question — but fans have noticed extremely uneven officiating in the series.

“Knicks refs” was a trending topic on Twitter Wednesday night, with fans questioning why an incorrect double dribble call on Donte DiVincenzo was overturned in crunch time on Wednesday, but refs didn’t consider reviewing an incorrect kicked ball foul on the Pacers in Game 1.

The nature of how both games unfolded is part of the discussion here. Twice in a row the Pacers have come out strong, only to see their leads evaporate in the second half amid a Knicks comeback. In total the officiating gives a slight edge to New York in fouls, with 39 being called against the Pacers to 33 for the Knicks — but Tyrese Haliburton isn’t willing to use the officiating as an excuse for his team’s struggles.

Rick Carlisle’s gripes with officiating aren’t dissimilar to those of Daryl Morey during the 2018 Playoffs when his (then) Rockets faced the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. In that series Morey similarly protested numerous calls that went Golden State’s way, though it didn’t end up amounting to anything.

It’s extremely unlikely the league office will admit that their officials made any significant mistakes in the series. If anything the Pacers will hope it might check the perceived bias the referees have for the remaining games in this series. That said, it doesn’t fundamentally change the fact that Indiana don’t have an answer for Jalen Brunson in this series, while uneven play from Myles Turner and Aaron Nesmith has allowed the Knicks to dominate the front court.

Indiana needs to find an answer, and appealing to the NBA about bad reffing ain’t it.

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