Report: Knicks have expressed displeasure with how Jalen Brunson is being officiated vs. Pacers

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Working the officials between games of a playoff series is a longtime postseason staple, and the 2024 NBA Playoffs have proven to be no exception, with the New York Knicks now reportedly upset with how their games against the Indiana Pacers are being called.

The report regarding what the Knicks believe are missed calls against star Jalen Brunson came to light after the Pacers reportedly filed a complaint with the league over almost 80 incorrect or non-calls they felt put them at a disadvantage in Games 1 and 2 that were played at Madison Square Garden.

New York won those opening two games of the best-of-seven series and are now just two victories away from reaching the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2000. Game 3 is at Indiana on Friday with Game 4 scheduled to take place at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Sunday.

The Knicks took Game 1 at home on Monday 121-117. Brunson scored 43 points, including a perfect 14-for-14 performance from the free-throw line. It was his fourth straight 40-point game in the playoffs after helping the Knicks close out the Philadelphia 76ers in six games in the first round.

Brunson was injured early in Game 2 against the Pacers and sat out the entire second quarter before returning to score 24 second-half points in a 130-121 victory. He finished with 29 points and made four of six free-throw attempts.

The guard has 20 free-throw attempts in the two games, while no Pacers player has more than seven attempts. Brunson averaged a career-high 6.5 free-throw attempts per game during the 2023-24 regular season.

Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle was ejected late in Game 2 and afterward pointed out his team’s status as a small-market club. He also mentioned that he thought the environment at Madison Square Garden affected the officiating to benefit the home team.

“Small-market teams deserve an equal shot,” Carlisle said after the game. “They deserve a fair shot no matter where they are playing.”

The Knicks have attempted 48 free throws in the two games, while the Pacers have attempted 36. Indiana has been outscored 40-25 from the line.

Former Knicks head coach Pat Riley as well as Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls coaching legend Phil Jackson were especially well-known for commenting on the officiating between games. It worked for them as they have multiple NBA championships to their names.

Whether that strategy pays off for the Pacers or Knicks in this series remains to be seen.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.