Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle, right, argues with a...

Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle, right, argues with a referee during the second half of Game 2 against the Knicks at MSG on Wednesday. Credit: AP/Frank Franklin II

The Pacers have mostly matched the Knicks’ physicality through two games of their second-round playoff series. Yet trailing 2-0, coach Rick Carlisle believes his team is being treated differently by the officials.

After losing Game 2 on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, the Pacers submitted 78 plays from Games 1 and 2 for review to the NBA league office, a source confirmed to Newsday. They were plays the Pacers deemed incorrect or non-calls.

Carlisle said Wednesday in a nearly three-minute opening statement following the 130-121 loss that the team initially planned to submit 29 such plays after Game 1 but decided against it.

“I'm always talking to our guys about not making it about the officials. But we just . . . we deserve a fair shot, and it's just not,” Carlisle said. “There’s not a consistent balance and that's disappointing. So give New York credit for the physicality that they're playing with. But their physicality is rewarded, and ours is penalized, just time after time.

“I'm just really disappointed. Just really disappointed.”

Carlisle, who was ejected after two technical fouls in the fourth quarter of Game 2, singled out one such play in the third. He said Tyrese Haliburton was shoved in the back by Josh Hart but no foul was called, even though it happened in front of official JB DeRosa.

Making it worse, Carlisle noted, was Haliburton was listed on the injury report as dealing with low back spasms.

“Small-market teams deserve an equal shot," Carlisle said. "They deserve a fair shot, no matter where they're playing."

Any plays the Pacers submit will also be seen by the Knicks as well. Game 3 is set for Friday night in Indianapolis.

Haliburton agreed that there should be more consistency from the officiating. Both he and Carlisle mentioned the referees reversing a double-dribble call on Isaiah Hartenstein with 1:19 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Knicks up six.

After a replay review, the referees determined it was an inadvertent whistle and gave the Knicks the ball. Carlisle’s anger over the sequence led to his ejection.

“I don’t think he double-dribbled, but if you can overturn that call, why can’t you overturn the kicked ball?,” said Haliburton, referring to a perceived missed call in the final minute of Game 1.

However, Haliburton added the Pacers have to fix their own mistakes if they want to trim their deficit in the series.

“Like I said, [the Knicks] outplayed us, so let’s not pretend like the refs are the reason we lost," he said. "We’ve just got to be better."

With Steve Popper


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