Rick Carlisle ejection, explained: Why Pacers coach took issue with referees after overturned double dribble

The Knicks can’t have a playoff game without some fourth-quarter drama, especially involving the referees.

New York has found itself in a close game down the stretch in every playoff game so far in 2024, including in the first two games of its second-round series against the Pacers. And narrow margins bring increased scrutiny on the officiating.

Controversial endings in Game 1 vs. the Pacers and Game 2 vs. the 76ers went in favor of the Knicks. But the 76ers picked up an advantage in on a missed call in Game 5 of the first-round series.

Referees created another controversy during Game 2 of the Knicks-Pacers series, albeit not on a make-or-break call.

New York’s Isaiah Hartenstein was called for a double dribble in the backcourt as the Knicks led 124-118 with just over a minute to play. Immediately following the whistle, though, the officiating crew discussed the play and overturned it without replay review.

Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle took issue with the series of events, which helped lead to his ejection in the final minute.

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Why did the referees overturn the double dribble call?

Officiating crews can — and often do — discuss calls with each other to get different perspectives on the same play. That seemed to be the case in Madison Square Garden for the supposed double dribble.

The referees changed the call without replay review because referees aren’t allowed to check the monitor for violations, which includes double dribbles. And neither coach could trigger a review as less than two minutes remained in the game.

The referees overturned the original call, dubbing it an inadvertent whistle. The Knicks received an inbounds play with 19 seconds remaining the shot clock.

Although the overturned call ruffled feathers and helped lead to Rick Carlisle’s ejection, it seemed to be the correct one based on video of the play. The NBA’s Last Two Minute Report will offer a final verdict.

Why was Rick Carlisle ejected?

Carlisle was furious with the overturned call. If the double dribble call stood, the Pacers would have had the opportunity to cut the Knicks’ lead to three or four points with more than a minute remaining.

The 64-year-old coach let his temper flare too much in the final minute. He picked up two technical fouls on separate occasions. Brunson was awarded free throws each time, giving him the chance to increase the Knicks lead.

After Indiana’s loss, Carlisle questioned the officiating in Game 2, saying his “small-market” team deserved “a fair shot.” He also felt there were “29 plays in Game 1 that we thought were clearly called the wrong way.”

Carlisle plans to file complaints about the calls to the NBA.


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