Pacers Report Cards: Grading every Pacers player's Conference Finals performance

How did every Indiana Pacer perform in the team's Conference Finals loss against Boston?
Boston Celtics v Indiana Pacers - Game Four
Boston Celtics v Indiana Pacers - Game Four / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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Rick Carlisle

Now that all the players are taken care of, what about Rick.

As much as it pains me to say this, this was easily Rick Carlisle's worst stretch of the season. In the first two rounds, Carlisle made mistakes but eventually corrected them which led to Indiana turning their fortunes around, but in this series, it was disaster after disaster.

Starting with Game 1. Indiana should have won this game and even had a 97% win probability after going up three points with less than 10 seconds remaining. Carlisle's decision to not call a timeout and advance the ball eventually led to an Indiana turnover and the game going to overtime.

We can't knock on him for not making the decision to foul up three, because Jaylen Brown would have gotten three free throws since he was already in his shooting motion after catching the ball. However, the decision to not call a timeout at the end was still baffling.

As for Game 2, this can be explained. With Tyrese Haliburton out for the entire fourth quarter and Indiana down 13, Carlisle made the decision to take out his starters and let the bench unit play for the final 12 minutes.

This was seen as very questionable to Pacers fans and non-Pacers fans alike, but the logic behind this can be seen, as the game was most likely lost anyway with Indiana's best player out and Boston keeping their starters in. However, it is never a good idea to give up in the final quarter of a playoff game, especially if it is still not out of reach.

As for Game 3, the timeout issue came blaring back full speed ahead. With 12 seconds left, Andrew Nembhard had the ball on a 3-on-1 fast break. Despite these unfavorable numbers, Carlisle neglected to call timeout and let Indiana continue playing.

This led to Nembhard getting the ball stolen by Jrue Holiday and the game being lost right then and there. In the post-game interview, Carlisle stated that he did not want the Celtics defense to get a chance to get set and hoped they would get caught off-guard. However, this is pretty hard to do when three defenders were swarming one player and making it very hard for him to even get a shot off, which he didn't.

Game 4 was not particularly Carlisle's fault, as the team collapsed gradually in the final minutes, but this do-or-die situation could have easily been avoided if the first three games were not handled so poorly. This was an interesting series for Carlisle.

Rick Carlisle is not going anywhere anytime soon, nor should he. He has shown what he can do with a roster of young, inexperienced players, taking them to the Conference Finals and almost getting some wins over the powerhouse Boston Celtics. However, this series exposed that Carlisle is not a perfect coach by any means. Perhaps some defensive assistants could help him next season, such as Frank Vogel or Dan Burke. Either way, Carlisle knows what he and the coaching staff have to do next season to help the players and use their newfound experience the best way they can.

He usually caught flack for his rotations, which gave him trouble in the Bucks series particularly, this series was mainly lost on poor late-game execution and failure to put Boston away. Indiana should have left Game 4 up 3-1 in the series, but instead, they got swept, with some of the blame falling onto Carlisle, deservedly so.

Final Grade: D (Bad timeout management, poor execution down the stretch, may have cost Indiana a game or two)