Horrendous rebounding is why the Pacers find themselves down to the Knicks

The Indiana Pacers once again got the short end of the stick when it came to the officiating in Game 2, but that's not why they lost. The Pacers' bad rebounding was.
May 8, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Miles McBride (2) drives past Indiana
May 8, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Miles McBride (2) drives past Indiana / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers held a ten-point halftime lead in Game 2. Tyrese Haliburton had 22 points in the first half and it looked like Indiana was going to steal one in the Garden. It helped that Jalen Brunson only played eight first-half minutes due to a foot injury, but that's a lead they should've held.

Instead, the Pacers folded and lost 130-121. There were several reasons why the Pacers lost. Bad officiating was one. The refs were almost as bad as they were in Game 1. But the players ended up deciding this game at the end and it was poor play from Aaron Nesmith on defense that stood out.

Nesmith has gotten cooked in both games of this series. He's the one who has been in charge of guarding Donte DiVincenzo, while rotating onto Jalen Brunson. DiVincenzo hit six threes and had 28 points in Game 2 after having 25 points in Game 1. Nesmith is supposed to be the best perimeter the Pacers have. That's been far from the truth. On offense, he was just 2-7 for six points.

Rebounding has killed the Pacers against the Knicks

The biggest reason why the Pacers have gotten beaten in both of the last two games is poor rebounding. They were outrebounded 44-34 in Game 2. In Game 1, it was a 40-32 rebounding advantage for the Knicks. Quite simply, the Pacers have to be tougher.

Allowing so many second-chance points is a problem. They have given up 13 of them in both games. Unless Indiana cleans that up, they aren't going to win this series. The most rebounds a single Pacers player had was six. Pascal Siakam had just six rebounds and continued his awful streak of bad free-throw shooting in Game 2.

The series now heads back to Indy. They should get a better whistle at home and the role players should play better. That means Nesmith should be better after contributing just 18 points offensively and getting run over defensively. They need him to lock in on the wing.


The Pacers need to win both games in Indy. That's the only way they can keep the series alive.