Bad call by refs cost the Indiana Pacers a win vs. Timberwolves

The Indiana Pacers had a shot to beat the best team in the West. Referees took away a chance for them to get that win.
Mar 7, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard (2) holds the ball
Mar 7, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard (2) holds the ball / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers came into Thursday night looking to take down the best team in the West. The Timberwolves came in with the second-best record in the NBA. Despite not having Karl Anthony-Towns, the Pacers knew to expect a fight from the Wolves. They themselves were without Bennedict Mathurin.

They got one. The Pacers were down by as much as 17 in the first half but were able to come back and take the lead a few times. There were several lead changes down the stretch. What happened in the final 90 seconds is what decided the game though.

Things were going well for Indiana until that time. They had fought all the way back and were trailing by two with 1:28 left in the game when Tyrese Haliburton drove in the paint and got fouled by Rudy Gobert. What happened next changed the course of the game.

Refs screw the Indiana Pacers out of a chance to win by not calling a flagrant foul on Rudy Gobert

According to the NBA, a Flagrant 1 foul is defined as the following: Unnecessary contact committed by a player against an opponent. When Gobert fouled Haliburton, he followed through with his arm and hit him in the head. That should have been called a Flagrant 1 foul.

Instead, the referees didn't even look at the play. They gave Haliburton two free throws and moved on. Had it been a Flagrant 1, the Pacers could have gotten two free throws and the ball. That would have changed the complexion of the entire game. Instead, the Pacers lost 113-111.

This is a foul that should have been looked at since it was above the shoulders. If the refs would have looked at it and determined that there was no follow-through, then fine. But they didn't even use a chance to get it right! Instead, they played on.

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Indiana had another chance to win the game in the final seconds, but it shouldn't have come down to that. That flagrant foul call could have sealed the game up for them. Instead, they leave with a disappointing loss to a team that was without its second-best player.