Referees Acknowledge Overlooking Critical Decision In Last Moments Of Knicks’ Victory Against Pacers

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Referees acknowledged an erroneous late call made against the Indiana Pacers on Monday night, which, under the rules, couldn’t be contested by the team.

The pivotal moment occurred with 52 seconds left in the tied game between the Pacers and the New York Knicks. Aaron Nesmith’s apparent deflection of a pass intended for Jalen Brunson to Donte DiVincenzo led to a disputed kicked ball violation, granting the Knicks possession instead of a potential steal for the Pacers.

Subsequently, the Knicks seized the lead moments later when DiVincenzo sank a crucial 3-pointer, ultimately securing a 121-117 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Following the game, crew chief Zach Zarba conceded that the call was incorrect, emphasizing that challenges are only permissible for fouls, goaltending, and out-of-bounds rulings, which meant the Pacers couldn’t contest the decision.

Despite feeling aggrieved by the earlier call, the Pacers challenged another decision when Myles Turner was charged with an offensive foul for a pick that sent DiVincenzo tumbling to the floor with 12 seconds left. The challenge, however, was unsuccessful, as the call stood upon review.

“Just in my experience in this league I think it’s best when you let the players decide the outcome of the game,” Turner said. “I think it’s unfortunate that it happened … called it an illegal screen. It’s the playoffs. I think DiVincenzo did a good job selling it. For the most part you can’t leave the game to be decided by the refs. We have to take accountability as well. We know at the end of the day we can’t get to that position.”

In a different instance, the Pacers successfully overturned a foul called against Tyrese Haliburton, which had tied the game at 113-all with 1:51 remaining.

“I think the two controversial calls, we had to use our challenge on one call (on) Tyrese, then the kicked ball on Aaron Nesmith that was not a kickball. You can clearly see that on the replays,” Turner added. “So, it’s unfortunate but we can’t put ourselves in that position.”