Myles Turner

Pacers Notes: Siakam, Turner, McConnell, L. Jones

A new contract with free agent forward Pascal Siakam will be one of the Pacers‘ priorities this summer, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star, who adds that the options to replace Siakam may be limited if they can’t re-sign him. The two-time All-Star was a valuable addition for Indiana after being acquired from Toronto in January and played a major role in the team’s run to the Eastern Conference Finals. He was the Pacers’ leading scorer at 21.7 PPG in the 41 regular season games he played, as well as their top scorer in the playoffs at 21.6 PPG.

“Pascal was a great fit,” general manager Chad Buchanan said. “Obviously, we targeted him in the trade. I’ve liked him for a long time and I thought he came in and was a tremendous piece to the puzzle for us and had major impact on the team both on the court and in the locker room. He seems to be happy here and we’re obviously happy with him and hope this is something long-term for both sides.”

If Siakam and the team are unable to out a new deal, Dopirak points to former Pacers star Paul George as a potential target. He and the Clippers haven’t been able to reach an extension agreement, with L.A. reportedly unwilling to give George the four-year contract he desires. Dopirak also names the Knicks’ OG Anunoby, the Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan, the Hornets’ Miles Bridges and the Sixers’ Tobias Harris as other free agents who could replace Siakam, but Indiana would face competition for all of them and wouldn’t necessarily have the cap room necessary to pursue some of them.

There’s more on the Pacers:

  • In a separate story for The Indianapolis Star, Dopirak looks at each player on the roster and examines their prospects for next season. He states that the team and center Myles Turner have both expressed interest in another extension before he becomes a free agent in 2025.
  • T.J. McConnell went from being out of the rotation on opening night to playing crucial minutes in the conference finals, Wheat Hotchkiss of notes in a player review. The veteran guard’s value to the Pacers became more apparent as the season wore on, and he looks like a bargain for next season at $9.3MM in the final year of his contract. “Getting this franchise back into the playoffs and making a run to the Eastern Conference Finals when not a single person had us going there, it was really fun just to play alongside the group and in games like that,” McConnell said.
  • After participating in a pre-draft workout with the Pacers on Tuesday, Purdue’s Lance Jones talked about the prospect of staying in Indiana for his NBA career (video link from the Indianapolis Star). “It’s very exciting,” Jones said. “I love Indiana. They’ve accepted me with open arms, and it just feels like another home for me.”

Pacers Notes: Siakam, Toppin, McConnell, Nembhard, Turner

The Pacers entered the Eastern Conference finals as massive underdogs, played without their best player (Tyrese Haliburton) for more than half the series, and were ultimately dispatched by the top-seeded Celtics in four games. However, as Jamal Collier of ESPN writes, it feels like a missed opportunity for the team, which had at least a 90% win probability in the fourth quarter of Games 1, 3, and 4, per ESPN Stats & Information.

“It’s still very fresh for all of us,” starting center Myles Turner said following Monday’s Game 4 loss. “Very frustrating to have all these games in your grasp and let it slip through.”

As disheartening as the outcome was, the Pacers recognize they exceeded preseason expectations by making the playoffs for the first time since 2020 and winning two series. Starting guard Andrew Nembhard referred to the postseason experience as “second to none,” while reserve forward Obi Toppin said a “lot of good” came out of the season, adding that “we grew as a whole culture.” Still, there was frustration about not better taking advantage of the opportunity they had this year, since there’s no guarantee that opportunity will arise again.

“I can tell you like, yeah, we’re going to learn from it and it’s going to happen, but it’s not guaranteed,” Pascal Siakam said, per Collier. “I know how hard it is to get to this point. It’s unfortunate. You want to give credit to the other team because they took advantage of every mistake that we made. They did well.

“But for us, it’s been hard, like heartbreaking losses after heartbreaking losses. Yeah, you’re going to be encouraged by it and you hope to put the right amount of work to continue to get better. Because we need to be a lot better if you want to compete with those teams. And understand it doesn’t matter how good we played, we didn’t get it done.”

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • An unrestricted free agent this summer, Siakam declined to specifically address his contract situation but spoke glowingly about the half-season he spent in Indiana after being traded from the Raptors to the Pacers in January. “It’s been a blessing,” Siakam said (Twitter video link via Michael Scotto of HoopsHype). “I’m really appreciative of everything. Coming from where I come from, it means a lot. The support that I’ve received here is something I was kind of missing. Having all that and seeing how the city just breathes basketball and how much support they give to the team…it’s incredible. How would you not be a part of that? I’m just really blessed and happy how this has been.”
  • Re-signing Siakam will be the Pacers’ top priority this summer, as Bobby Marks of ESPN (Insider link) and Mark Deeks of HoopsHype write in their previews of the club’s offseason, though it seems unlikely to be a drawn-out process, Marks observes. Re-signing Toppin and perhaps extending T.J. McConnell could be more challenging negotiations, Marks notes, and improving the defense will be another major offseason goal.
  • While the Pacers would certainly have preferred to have a healthy Haliburton available for Games 3 and 4 vs. Boston, the performances Nembhard submitted as the starting point guard were bright spots in the final days of Indiana’s season, writes Kyle Neddenriep of The Indianapolis Star. Nembhard averaged 28.0 points, 9.5 assists, and 5.0 rebounds per game on .564/.538/1.000 shooting in those two tight losses and “defended at a high level,” per head coach Rick Carlisle. “He could be a starter on any team in this league,” McConnell said of Nembhard, who does typically start alongside Haliburton at the two. “He’s proven that night in and night out. What he’s done in the playoffs is truly remarkable, where defenses are game-planning even more for you. He just rose to the challenge every night.” Nembhard will be extension-eligible this offseason but is still under team control on a minimum-salary deal for two more seasons, so there’s no urgency to get a deal done right away.
  • Making it this deep in the postseason was special for Turner, who said he’s never been beyond the first round of the playoffs in his life, even in high school. As James Boyd of The Athletic details, few NBA players have been with their current teams longer than Turner has been a Pacer, which made this year’s success more rewarding for the veteran center, who has been the subject of trade rumors multiple times over the years and seemed on the verge of being replaced when Indiana signed Deandre Ayton to a maximum-salary offer sheet in 2022. “It’s a rarity that one player is with an organization as long as I’ve been, so I definitely don’t take it for granted. I have a lot of love for the city, and I try to express it as much as I can,” Turner said. “But to be frank, I have dealt with a lot of bullsh–t since I been here. Honestly, just battling sometimes with non-believers, having to deal with all of the trade rumors, having another big man signed right in front of my eyes. … No matter what was thrown in front of me, I’m gonna continue to be the consummate professional and the man that I am. It’s very easy to be like, ‘This happened, so I’m gonna up,’ or, ‘They gave up on me, so I’m gonna give up on them.’ That’s not my M.O.”

Pacers Notes: Haliburton, Carlisle, Bench, More

After Tyrese Haliburton left Game 2 early due to left hamstring soreness on Thursday, the Pacers have listed the star guard as questionable to play in Saturday’s Game 3 (Twitter link). While Haliburton was also said to be dealing with a chest issue in Game 2, the hamstring soreness is his only ailment mentioned on the official injury report.

Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star (subscription required) explores how the Pacers might try to make up for Haliburton’s absence in the event that he’s unable to play in Game 3. As Dopirak notes, the team has solid alternatives at point guard in Andrew Nembhard and T.J. McConnell but might have to dig deeper into its rotation at other positions to cover Haliburton’s minutes. Nembhard and McConnell also wouldn’t be able to replicate the play-making and outside shooting that the All-NBA guard provides.

“He does so many things for our team where everyone just has to move the ball more and get in the paint more,” McConnell said. “The ball movement, like I said, just has to be at another level. He gets 10 assists in his sleep. It’s hard for another person on our team to replicate that. It’s a group effort when he goes down to kinda get people the ball and get moving.”

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • Whether or not Haliburton is healthy, the Pacers won’t have any hope of beating pulling off a comeback and beating Boston in the Eastern Conference finals if they play like they did on Thursday, Gregg Doyel writes in a column for The Indianapolis Star (subscription required).
  • Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle raised some eyebrows in Game 2 by leaning on little-used bench players like Doug McDermott, Jarace Walker, Kendall Brown, and Jalen Smith in the fourth quarter while sitting Myles Turner, Aaron Nesmith, and Pascal Siakam for most or all of the final period. Carlisle explained why he went to his bench so early despite facing a deficit that didn’t seem insurmountable. “To look at some guys that I thought needed a look,” Carlisle said, per Dopirak. “McDermott went in there and played well. Isaiah Jackson brought a lot of fight to the game. Jalen Smith hasn’t had much of an opportunity to play in the playoffs, so I wanted to see where he was at. We weren’t giving up, but it was an opportunity to get some energetic fresh guys in there to fight. They did some good things. … The guys who had played to that point, Pascal was very tired. Aaron had four fouls and he was tired. That was it.”
  • Prior to Game 2, Haliburton told reporters that Indiana has the “best bench in the NBA,” Dopirak writes in another Indy Star story (subscription required). McConnell, Obi Toppin, and Ben Sheppard are the Pacers reserves who have seen the most action this postseason, leading a second unit that ranks No. 1 in the playoffs with 33.4 points per game.
  • While many NBA fans didn’t assign much meaning to the league’s first in-season tournament earlier this season, making the championship game in that tournament benefited a Pacers team that hadn’t made the playoffs since 2020, says Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “There were some real playoff simulations — our quarterfinal game at home, on a Monday night, against (the Celtics), had the feel of a conference finals-matchup atmosphere,” Carlisle said. “The part about going to Vegas and playing there, that was different, but there was certainly the exposure, the stage, all that. So, all those experiences help a young team.”

Pacers Notes: Game 1 Loss, Haliburton, Turner, Carlisle

Numerous late-game mistakes cost the Pacers a chance to take an early lead in the Eastern Conference Finals, writes Jamal Collier of ESPN. Coach Rick Carlisle told reporters that “a lot of things had to go wrong for us and right for them” for the Celtics to escape with a victory in Tuesday’s Game 1, but as Collier details, that’s exactly what happened.

Indiana held a three-point lead with 27.1 seconds left in regulation when Tyrese Haliburton accidentally dribbled the ball off his foot for a turnover. After a defensive stop, the Pacers had a chance to close out the game with free throws, but they gave up the ball again on an errant inbounds pass, setting the stage for Jaylen Brown‘s three-pointer that forced overtime.

Pascal Siakam said he intended to foul before the final shot, but Brown was squared up when he caught the ball and Siakam didn’t want to risk giving sending him to the line for three shots.

“We showed our age a little bit tonight,” Myles Turner said. “Being a youthful team and being in this high stakes of a game, those uncharacteristic mistakes just made their way out.”

There’s more on the Pacers:

  • Haliburton is optimistic despite the meltdown because his team proved it can compete with the heavily favored Celtics, relays Eric Nehm of The Athletic. The All-Star guard noted that the Pacers haven’t won any of their playoff series openers, but they found a way to get past Milwaukee and New York. “We know we can play with these guys,” Haliburton said. “We know we belong. I think it’s discouraging just because of the plays that that happened down the stretch. We feel like we were in position to win the game and just didn’t win the game.”
  • One obvious advantage for Indiana was Turner’s dominance with Kristaps Porzingis unavailable due to injury, notes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Turner had 18 points, four rebounds and four assists in the first half against Al Horford and Luke Kornet before Boston started guarding him with wings after halftime. “Usually when fives are on me, that’s usually my time to get loose and what not,” Turner said. “Teams pick up on that and start guarding me with other men, threes or fours and sometimes guarding me with guards. That’s when I have to make my way in the paint and make my hay there. There were definitely some more things I could have done in the homestretch to be more aggressive.”
  • The Pacers were unhappy with the imbalance of fouls as they shot just three free throws in regulation, per Joe Vardon of the Athletic. Indiana wound up with 10 total attempts from the line compared to Boston’s 30, but Carlisle, who was fined $35K for criticizing the officiating in the Knicks series, was careful with his post-game comments. “My daughter already has to sit out one semester of college — I can’t have her take a whole year off,” he joked.

Pacers’ Turner Talks Playoff Run, Siakam Addition, Career Goals, More

Speaking to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype ahead of the start of the Eastern Conference finals, Pacers big man Myles Turner said he’s unfazed by entering the third-round series as a significant underdog to the top-seeded Celtics. As Turner explained, he and his teammates have gotten used to playing the underdog role by this point.

“That’s life as an Indiana Pacer,” Turner said. “It was the same thing as the last series. If you look at every single poll on ESPN, everyone picked the Knicks to win. If you look at the series before that with the Bucks, it might’ve been 80 percent of the people picking Milwaukee to win.

“That’s something that, since I’ve been here, at least in my career, it’s been like that every single season. We don’t get TV games, and we’re not publicized like that. In the press, it’s never the Pacers won. It’s the Knicks lost. That’s regular stuff for us. We use it as fuel and as a chip on our shoulders. We definitely go in there, and it’s less pressure on us because if we’re the underdogs, we’re the uninvited guests. It’s up to us to go out there and prove everybody wrong. That’s the goal at the end of the day.”

Over the course of his conversation with Scotto, Turner also addressed what this playoff run means to him as the longest-tenured Pacer, how the midseason addition of Pascal Siakam affected the team, and his career goals going forward, among other topics.

Here are a few highlights from the discussion, which is worth checking out in full for Pacers fans:

On surviving multiple years of trade rumors and sticking with the Pacers:

“It’s pretty dope. A lot of people were expecting you to fold with that. When you start hearing those types of rumors year in and out, you start kind of getting insecure. You look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, ‘Am I the problem?’ You’ve been hyped up your entire life, and when you get to this stage, everything’s under a microscope. When you start playing for these multi-million dollar organizations, any little thing that goes wrong, the blame is going to be on you. That’s where it got in my career.

“… I got here with Paul George, where I was spoiled in my first couple of years making the playoffs. Then, he gets traded, and you have the rise of Victor Oladipo. Then, he gets hurt and goes on his way. Domantas Sabonis comes in and has his All-Star run, and then he goes on his way. Now, we’re in a new era of Pacers basketball, and I’ve seen all this stuff, and we’re in a really good spot. It definitely means a lot to be in the same uniform that I was drafted in, but it means more that I still have the trust and support of the front office and this fan base.”

On Siakam’s impact on the Pacers following the January trade with Toronto:

“I think Pascal came here and changed not only our outlook right away but the way we approach the game. He’s someone who has championship experience. He came in right away and was able to be a voice. He was never really shy about speaking up on how he thought about things we should be doing or how we should move. He’s helped us tremendously on the offensive end and being able to have his defensive versatility.

“He’s a free agent this summer. We’re hoping that he signs back in Indiana. He’s someone that we’d love to have who can really help us going forward. I think it was a great move for us to get him. (Pacers president of basketball operations) Kevin Pritchard was very adamant about trying to add more length, and he was able to get it done with a special player. I’ve really enjoyed playing with him in the frontcourt together. He’s someone who’s also going to help my game. He commands so much attention that I’m able to get loose for my threes.”

On Turner’s individual and team goals:

“Individually, you want to get that first All-Star birth. You want to finally get some All-Defensive recognition and be able to be the guy that gets these types of humanitarian awards for the work you do in the community and have stuff like that recognized. As far as a team goal, the goal is to win a championship. There’s no other way to put that. When we started talking about this at the beginning of the year, it was far-fetched to a lot of people to try to make this run to the Finals. Now, it seems more real.”

Pacers Notes: Surprise Run, Offense, Haliburton, Nembhard, Nesmith, Siakam

The Pacers find themselves in the Cinderella role in these playoffs. After knocking off the Bucks in the first round, they put away the injury-ravaged Knicks in Game 7 on Sunday.

Now, they’ll face the top-seeded Celtics in the conference finals. All this after failing to qualify for the playoffs the previous three seasons and getting knocked out in the opening round in their five previous postseason appearances.

“Well, we’re the uninvited guest,” coach Rick Carlisle said, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. “Here we are. When you win a Game 7 in Madison Square Garden, you’ve made history. It’s very, very difficult to do.”

The Pacers shot 67.1% from the field in the 130-109 win, setting an NBA playoff record for highest field goal percentage in a single game. They made 76.3% of their attempts from the floor in the first half. Tyrese Haliburton led the way with 26 points.

“It’s a testament to our coaching staff and our offense,” center Myles Turner said (story via The Indianapolis Star’s Dustin Dopirak). “We have a historic offense obviously, but this guy (Haliburton) got things rolling and everybody just followed suit. To do that on the road when you’re in the Garden in a Game 7 obviously is phenomenal. This is what we’ve been doing all season long and it showed on a big stage.”

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • Haliburton scored a combined 28 points in the previous two games and also had a six-point clunker in Game 1. He was efficient in Game 7, shooting 10-for-17 from the field while making six assists. “For me, aggression is not shots, it’s getting two feet in the paint,” Haliburton said. “I know it’s an old school way of thinking, but the more that I can get downhill, it opens things up for everybody else. Guys were making shots early. I just continued to get to the paint off these two guys (Turner’s and Pascal Siakam‘s) ball screens. Get to the rim and kick out to these guys to make plays. For me it’s just feeling out the game, what’s needed in that game. I know today’s Game 7, unload the clip, have no regrets because I would hate to be (expletive) all summer about not shooting the ball today. For me it was just about coming out and playing the right way.”
  • Andrew Nembhard and Aaron Nesmith made major offensive contributions, combining for 39 points. Nembhard shot 8-for-10 from the field and Nesmith made all eight of his shot attempts. “Those guys were great for us,” Siakam said. “They’re a big part of what we do.”
  • Siakam scored four baskets in the early going against former Raptors teammate OG Anunoby, who was hobbled by a hamstring injury and only lasted five minutes. “I was going to test him,” Siakam said. “I thought he didn’t look healthy out there. … I just wanted to make sure he was OK, but it was a Game 7.”

Central Notes: Pacers, Allen, Mitchell, Garland, Grimes

Sunday afternoon will mark the first experience with a Game 7 for most of the Pacers‘ roster, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Indiana extended the series with a convincing win in front of a home crowd Friday night, but a much different atmosphere will await the team at Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks have won all three matchups.

“It’s the ultimate game,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s a great opportunity. … This team has been through a lot of new experiences over the last 3 1/2 weeks and this will be another new one. We’ll do everything possible to get them ready. In Game 7s, it comes down to compete level and how well you’re tied together.”

Dopirak notes that Pascal Siakam and T.J. McConnell faced each other in a Game 7 in 2019 when Toronto topped Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Myles Turner and James Johnson also have Game 7 experience, as does Aaron Nesmith, but he only played two total minutes in a pair of seventh games with Boston.

“The team that exerts the most energy and plays to exhaustion comes out on top and it’s win or go home,” McConnell said. “It’s something that I feel like every player plays for, a Game 7. Excited for the opportunity, but we have to be more dialed in than any of have ever been before. … If you’re not playing to exhaustion in this next game, why even go?”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers may explore trade opportunities involving center Jarrett Allen this offseason, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst stated on his Hoop Collective podcast (YouTube link). “I would just say that while there’s extreme interest and excitement probably from certain fanbases to go to the trade machine and work out Donovan Mitchell trades, and maybe those will be needed in a month, we’ll see,” Windhorst said. “I would think the Cavs are going to be spending more time in this next month looking at possible Jarrett Allen trades, and what that could bring.”
  • On his latest Lowe Post podcast (YouTube link), ESPN’s Zach Lowe speculates that the Pelicans could be among the teams with interest in Mitchell and that the Spurs might pursue Darius Garland if the Cavaliers decide to break up their backcourt. “I will be surprised if Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland are both on the Cavaliers next season,” Lowe said. Which guard is more likely to land on the trade block will depend on whether or not Mitchell agrees to an extension.
  • A sprained knee limited Quentin Grimes to six games after the Pistons acquired him from New York at the trade deadline, but he should enter training camp with a chance to earn significant playing time, according to Keith Langlois of Grimes is eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer.

Central Notes: Ball, Mitchell, Pacers, Haliburton, Turner

Lonzo Ball continues to make positive forward progress in his rehab from the latest procedure on his knee, the Bulls guard said in the first episode of his What An Experience podcast (hat tip to Ryan Taylor of NBC Sports Chicago). Asked at the start of the show to provide an update on his status, Ball said it’s “coming along week by week.”

“It’s improving, so that’s all I can ask for,” Ball said. “It’s still not where I want it to be. Out of 100 (percent), I’d probably say I’m about 70 (percent). Good enough to play, but can still get better. I still got a long summer ahead of me. But definitely looking forward to the future.”

Ball has undergone three separate surgeries on his knee since last playing in an NBA game in 2022. He experienced setbacks during his first two rehab processes, but there was optimism following his cartilage transplant in 2023 that the third surgery would be the one that allowed him to make a full recovery and eventually get back on the court. While there’s still a ways to go to make that a reality, this appears to be the closest Ball has come to getting healthy in the past two-and-a-half years, Taylor notes.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • With the Cavaliers on the brink of elimination, Brian Windhorst appeared on ESPN’s Get Up (Twitter video link) to discuss what this offseason might look like for the team and star guard Donovan Mitchell. As Windhorst notes, the front office will have a difficult decision to make if Mitchell claims publicly that he’s happy in Cleveland and doesn’t ask to be dealt, but also doesn’t sign an extension entering a potential contract year. “I’m trying to walk the line because I don’t want anybody to freak out in my home town of Cleveland, but there are a number of teams that have their (trade) offers ready,” Windhorst said, identifying the Lakers and Nets as a couple of the clubs expected to pursue Mitchell if the Cavs consider moving him.
  • Rick Carlisle was disappointed with the Pacers‘ complete level in Tuesday’s Game 5 blowout loss to the Knicks, referring to their effort as “very poor,” according to Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. “Lost every quarter. Got annihilated on loose balls and rebounds,” Indiana’s head coach said in his postgame media session. “… We all own it, but very embarrassing.” Carlisle added that it was a “hard lesson” to learn for an Indiana team that doesn’t have much experience playing together on this sort of stage. “There’s no excuses, but all the guys on our roster, I believe it’s the first time they’ve been in a Game 5 tied 2-2 and going on the road,” he told reporters. “So you learn a lot in those situations very quickly. … This is a different circumstance. As a playoff series progresses, it’s going to be harder and harder.”
  • Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton and center Myles Turner took their share of responsibility for the team’s poor showing on Tuesday, as Dopirak details in a pair of Indy Star stories. Haliburton, who attempted just nine shots and scored 13 points, said he has to “do a better job of being aggressive,” while Turner told the media he has to be more assertive on the boards after grabbing just five rebounds. “I know I didn’t do my job and I need to personalize that going into the next game,” Turner said after Indiana was out-rebounded 53-29. “I take full ownership, and it starts with me down there on a lot of that stuff.”

Knicks Notes: McBride, Hartenstein, DiVincenzo, Anunoby, Burks

After losing back-to-back games in Indiana, the Knicks made a lineup change ahead of Game 5, inserting Miles McBride into Precious Achiuwa‘s spot in the starting five. As Ian Begley of writes, the move paid major dividends.

The Knicks outscored the Pacers by 26 points during McBride’s 40 minutes on the court, and the extra spacing afforded by his presence gave Jalen Brunson more room to operate — the Knicks star took advantage by scoring a series-high 44 points in the blowout victory. McBride was also one of the primary defenders on Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton, who contributed just 13 points and five assists on the night.

“Huge,” Donte DiVincenzo said of McBride’s impact, per Begley. “Offensively, spacing the floor, being aggressive. And defensively making it hell full court, denying it. Being able to be in help and get back. He was special tonight.”

Despite using a smaller lineup, with the 6’2″ McBride replacing the 6’8″ Achiuwa, the Knicks dominated the game inside. They outscored Indiana by a 62-36 margin in the paint and grabbed 53 rebounds (20 offensive) compared to just 29 (five offensive) for the Pacers. Seventeen of those rebounds, including 12 offensive boards, went to Isaiah Hartenstein, who said playing “physical” basketball was a priority for him heading into Tuesday’s game.

“I feel like the games in Indiana, I wasn’t playing like myself, wasn’t physical,” Hartenstein said, according to Peter Botte of The New York Post. “I was letting them kind of play how I play, so just coming in, that was the biggest thing I wanted to do.”

Here’s more on the Knicks as they prepare to head back to Indianapolis with a 3-2 series lead:

  • DiVincenzo and Myles Turner got into a brief altercation in the third quarter of Tuesday’s game and had to be separated (Twitter video link). After DiVincenzo threw down a big dunk, he came back up the court and attempted to fight through a Turner screen, but got called for a foul. According to Brian Lewis of The New York Post, Turner seemed to take exception with an elbow to the gut from the Knicks wing on the play. “They were trying to be tough guys. And that’s not their identity, and there’s nothing more to that,” DiVincenzo told reporters after the game. “I don’t agree with trying to walk up on somebody. … Nobody is going to fight in the NBA. So take the foul, keep it moving. You’re not a tough guy. Just keep it moving.”
  • Head coach Tom Thibodeau said on Tuesday that injured forward OG Anunoby (hamstring strain) was doing some “light work” on the court, as Begley tweets. However, in a pregame TNT segment, sideline reporter Chris Haynes (Twitter video link) suggested that Anunoby is probably a long shot to play again in this series, stating that a potential return for the Eastern Conference Finals is more likely.
  • After not playing in any of the Knicks’ first seven games of the playoffs, Alec Burks has emerged as a reliable rotation piece since Anunoby went down, scoring 14, 20, and 18 points in his past three games. “He’s been giving us huge minutes this series,” Josh Hart said (story via Botte). “He’s a true professional, someone who’s staying ready. You see him every day working hard, getting his shots up. That’s what pros do. When they’re not in the rotation they continue to get better, continue to stay ready. When his number was called he came out and provided for us when we desperately needed it. He’s a true pro, someone who we’re going to continue to rely on for those minutes.”

Pacers Notes: Carlisle, Officiating, Disputed Calls, Haliburton, Turner

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle downplayed some controversial calls in Game 1 of his team’s series against the Knicks, saying “We’re not expecting to get calls in here (at Madison Square Garden).”

He struck a much different tone during and after Indiana’s Game 2 loss on Wednesday. Carlisle was ejected late in the fourth quarter of the Pacers’ 130-121 loss, then ripped the officiating in the postgame press conference, claiming that “small-market teams” don’t get a fair shake.

“Small-market teams deserve an equal shot,” Carlisle said, per Dustin Dopirak of the Indianapolis Star. “They deserve a fair shot no matter where they’re playing.”

Carlisle pointed out a number of instances where he felt his team got an unfavorable whistle or a no-call on a Knicks foul.

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

The Pacers have submitted 78 plays to the league, covering the first two games, that they felt were incorrectly called, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reports. That includes 49 calls from Wednesday’s contest. As part of NBA protocol, the clips will also be shared with the Knicks.

We have more on the Pacers:

  • While Carlisle and the Pacers front office may be incensed with the officiating, their players were less critical. “Let’s not pretend like [officiating] is the only reason we lost. We just didn’t play good enough,” Tyrese Haliburton said, according to Windhorst. “We just got to be better.”
  • T.J. McConnell said afterward in a video posted by SNY TV (Twitter link), “We love Rick showing that type of energy on the court, but that’s not the feeling that we have in the locker room. We’re not going to sit here and blame officials. We gotta be better. It’s just that simple.”
  • One very positive development for the Pacers was the play of Haliburton. After scoring just six points in Game 1, the All-Star guard poured in a game-high 34 points on 11-of-19 shooting, including 7-of-11 on three-point attempts, Brian Lewis of the New York Post notes. “I just shot more shots, took what the defense gave me,” he said.
  • Meanwhile, Myles Turner pulled a disappearing act, Peter Botte of the New York Post points out. The Pacers’ starting center was held to six points and was minus-21 in 31 minutes after scoring 23 points in Game 1.