Controversial call leads to Pacers losing first game of season vs. Bulls

Indiana Pacers, Andrew Nembhard, Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls
Indiana Pacers, Andrew Nembhard, Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls /

The Indiana Pacers lost their first game of the season on Monday night, and in a pretty frustrating fashion at that. While nobody’s performance was particularly anything to write home about, as there were bad shooting nights all throughout the box score, one moment stands above the rest.

It may have been the nail in the coffin for the night against the Chicago Bulls, and it wasn’t even Indiana’s fault.

With just 32 seconds left in the game and Indiana down just four points, Andrew Nembhard got what appeared to be a clean steal from Alex Caruso. However, it was called a reach-in foul – a call that was subsequently challenged by Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle.

Upon further review, it was pointed out by analyst Quinn Buckner, and could easily be seen on the replay, that not only did Nembhard get the ball and not Caruso’s hands, but Caruso stepped on Nembhard’s foot and fell down.

Despite the play being shown multiple times, even in slow motion, the ruling on the floor stood, and an additional penalty was called against the Pacers for tripping, even though Caruso stepped on Nembhard’s foot and fell down by on his own.

Due to the challenge being “successful,” because of the additional penalty, Chicago got the ball back and hit one of two free throws to increase the lead to five, which it stayed at for the final 30 seconds of the game, as the Bulls won 110-105 and handed Indiana their first loss of the season.

While the Indiana Pacers did not exactly have a great game outside of the failed challenge, with multiple errors being committed, especially in the second half and down the stretch as the game ticked down, it is hard to guarantee that the outcome would be the same if not for a call that even the Bulls broadcast struggled to agree with.

Indiana Pacers fans on Twitter were very upset about the call, and with the opposition even admitting it was questionable, it’s hard to blame them. Indiana could have been better elsewhere, but the final seconds of the game being tainted by a questionable call has to leave a poor taste in the team’s mouth.

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Indiana is now 2-1 on the season and will be looking for a huge bounce-back win against the Boston Celtics on November 1.