Pacers Coach Rick Carlisle Fined $35K for Criticizing Referees

INDIANAPOLIS — The NBA fined Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle $35,000 on Friday for criticizing his officiating in his team’s playoff series with the New York Knicks — which also drew the ire of guard Josh Hart.

“Rick says what he thinks. At the end of the day it has nothing to do with us. I think it’s very disrespectful to us,” Hart said after Friday morning’s shooting. “Because at the end of the day, we’re out there playing and competing at a high level. It’s not about power. It’s not about anything like that.”

As part of his lawsuit, Carlisle flagged a no-call when he made contact with Pacers star Tyrese Halliburton during the third quarter of the Knicks’ 130-121 Game 2 win on Wednesday. Sources told ESPN that it could be one of 78 plays the Pacers sent to the league office Thursday, where a referee’s decision in Games 1 and 2 deemed Indiana unfavorable.

Carlisle also questioned whether the Knicks were prioritized as a big-market team compared to his smaller-market Pacers. The NBA said Carlisle was fined for “questioning the integrity of the league and its officials.”

“Small-market teams deserve an equal shot,” Carlisle said Wednesday. “They deserve a fair shot wherever they play.”

Hart dismissed Carlisle’s position that the Pacers didn’t get a fair whistle because of their market size.

“F— no. That’s so stupid, bro. We’re going to say the big market always wins? The Knicks haven’t won the chip in 51 years, so it doesn’t really carry much weight,” Hart said. , who played in smaller markets in New Orleans and Portland before coming to New York last season. “I think it’s just stupid. At the end of the day, it’s playing better, and I’ve never seen a ref shoot a free throw or miss a 3 or a turnover, you know what I mean?”

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Carlisle had said the Pacers decided not to send Game 1 calls to the league office for review, but reversed that decision after Game 2 had similar officiating issues from their perspective.

“We always talk to our guys about the officials, but we deserve a fair shot,” Carlisle said after Game 2. “Give New York credit for the physicality they play with, but their physicality is rewarded and ours is punished at times.”

The Knicks lead the best-of-seven series 2-0 heading into Friday’s Game 3 in Indianapolis (7 p.m. ET, ESPN).

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