NBA Playoffs: Officials admit they erred in calling the game-winning shot in the controversial final minute from the Pacers-Knicks

Officials highlighted the final moments of Monday’s Game 1 between the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers, which saw a thrilling finish at Madison Square Garden.

Controversial late calls proved costly for the Pacers, as the Knicks held on for a thrilling 121-117 win. Officials admitted after the game that they had gotten one of them wrong.

With the game tied at 115-115 in the final minute, Knicks guard Jalen Brunson dribbled the ball over half court. He then delivered an errant pass that bounced off the hands of Pacers guard Aaron Nesmith and into the hands of Indiana teammate Andrew Nembhard for an apparent turnover.

But the officials whistled on Nesmith, and the Knicks kept the ball. Nesmith, who did not kick the ball, protested the call.

Twelve seconds later, Donte DiVincenzo hit a three-pointer to give the Knicks a 118-115 lead.

Then, with less than 20 seconds to go, the Pacers had the ball and had a chance to take the lead while trailing 118-117. Tyrese Haliburton dribbled in the half court, and Myles Turner set up a block on his defender, Divincenzo.

DiVincenzo fell to the ground, and officials whistled at Turner for a moving screen. This angered TNT analyst Stan Van Gundy.

“This is shocking,” Van Gundy said. “You’ll never see that call at this point in the game. I mean, never.”

“That’s a great acting job. There’s a lot of great actors here in New York City. I’ve seen them on Broadway all the time. It’s a good acting job as you can see. It was moving a little bit technically. Indiana’s going to do it. I don’t think they’re going to win the challenge.”

Van Gundy was right. The Pacers didn’t win the challenge and the Knicks had the ball.

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Pacers coach Rick Carlisle chose not to impose a fine in his postgame comments.  (Sarah Steer/Getty Images)

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle chose not to impose a fine in his postgame comments. (Sarah Steer/Getty Images)

At this point, Joel Embiid has seen enough. His Philadelphia 76ers had just been eliminated by the Knicks in the first round and were also on the wrong end of some controversial calls at Madison Square Garden. He chimed in with his sentiments on social media.

While there was a lot of gray area around the moving screen, there was no justification for the fake kicked ball that set up the go-ahead New York 3. All the officials could do after the game was admit that they had gotten it wrong.

β€œOn the ground, we felt that would be a violation of the ball that was kicked,” crew chief Zach Zarba told pool reporter Fred Katz. β€œThe post-match review showed that the ball hit the defender’s hand, which would have been legal.”

Because the kicker is not eligible for replay review, the Pacers had no recourse to correct the call through a challenge during the game.

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle was asked about the referee postgame. He declined to risk a fine.

“I don’t want to talk about management” he told reporters. β€œWe don’t expect to get calls here.”

The NBA admitted through a Last Minute report that officials made several blunders in the controversial game the Knicks won over the 76ers at Madison Square Garden. Tuesday’s report on Monday’s Game 1 will be highly anticipated.

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