Game 6 is a must-win game for Rick Carlisle if he wants to stay with the Pacers

The Pacers face a must-win situation in Game 6. If they lose it, it could be Rick Carlisle's last game as the head coach of Indiana.
Apr 30, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA;  Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle looks on during
Apr 30, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle looks on during / Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers missed a golden opportunity in Game 5 to win their first-round series against the Bucks. Milwaukee was without both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard again, but the Pacers couldn't get it done. Instead, they got blown out by a rag-tag team of Bucks.

Tonight is Game 6 in Indianapolis. The Pacers will have a big homecourt advantage and they are going to need it. They have to win this game. If they let it go back to Milwaukee for a Game 7, they are done. They will lose to the Bucks in that scenario. That's where Rick Carlisle's future comes in.

If the Pacers lose tonight, this could be the last game that Carlisle ever coaches for Indiana. He has had some questionable things that he's done in the playoffs. His substitution patterns in Game 5 didn't make any sense. If he does the same thing in Game 6, the Pacers could lose. Especially if Giannis and Dame return.

Rick Carlisle could be coaching his last game for the Pacers

The Pacers' offense was extremely stagnant after the first quarter in Game 5. They didn't get out and run as much as they did in the first quarter. Part of that is due to adjustments made by Milwaukee. You have to give them some credit for improving their defense.

Indiana didn't penetrate the paint enough, nor did they get Myles Turner involved enough. He and Pascal Siakam have been the drivers of success for this team in this series. They combined for just 25 points in Game 5. They need to be better than that in Game 6.

If Carlisle can get the Pacers a win on Thursday night, he has nothing to worry about. He will have gotten the Pacers to win their first playoff series in a decade. It would also be the first time Carlisle has won a playoff series since the Mavs won an NBA title in 2011.


The Pacers need to pull out all of the stops in Game 6. They can't let this series go back to Milwaukee.