How Rick Carlisle almost cost the Pacers a win in Game 3 twice

The Pacers beat the Bucks in overtime on Friday evening, but it wasn't thanks to their head coach. He almost cost them the win two different times.
Apr 12, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle reacts in the second
Apr 12, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle reacts in the second / David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers survived the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 3, beating them 121-118 in overtime. Thanks to Tyrese Haliburton's floater with 1.8 seconds left, the Pacers have a 2-1 series lead over the Bucks. They are now in control of the series heading into Game 4 on Sunday.

It almost didn't pan out that way. Khris Middleton scored 42 points for the Bucks despite playing on a sprained ankle. He was questionable coming into the game. Yet, he was able to wreck the Pacers all game long, including twice in late-game scenarios where he hit three-point shots to tie the game.

Rick Carlisle almost cost his team a victory two different times. First at the end of regulation and again towards the end of overtime. Both times, the Pacers were up three points with very little time left on the clock. Both times, Middleton made threes to tie the game up.

Rick Carlisle needs to make better decisions for the Pacers to win this over the Bucks

The Bucks had the ball with 6.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter down three points. The Pacers were in a great situation to win the game. Instead, they decided to not foul in that situation and let Middleton drain a three with 1.2 seconds left to send it into overtime.

Carlisle didn't learn from his mistake. The same thing happened in overtime. Up three with 14.1 seconds left, the Pacers once again let it play out. They decided not to foul. Middleton banked in a three and tied it up with 8 seconds left in overtime.

Haliburton ultimately bailed out Carlisle, but he can't make decisions like this. He has to do the smart thing and foul while up three. Perhaps the Bulls game is sticking in his mind when they fouled up three and allowed them to get the offensive rebound and DeMar DeRozan hit a shot to send it to OT. They ended up losing that game back in March.


Haliburton had a triple-double. His scoring still isn't up there like it used to be, but the team is still winning games. They don't need mistakes from their coach costing them wins. Carlisle needs to be better moving forward.