Post-game referee report confirms call that led to Pacers loss in Game 1

After a string of controversial calls led to the Pacers losing Game 1 against the New York Knicks, a report following the game confirms Pacers fans' suspicions.
May 6, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) is fouled by Indiana
May 6, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) is fouled by Indiana / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

After the Indiana Pacers' heartbreaking Game 1 loss to the New York Knicks, fans in the NBA world certainly feel some type of way. Despite leading for most of the game, a flurry of questionable calls led to the Knicks making a stunning comeback and snatching the game away from Indiana in the final minutes to come away with the 121-117 win.

Perhaps the most egregious of these calls came with 52 seconds left in the game and the score tied. We all know the story by now. As Jalen Brunson attempted a bounce pass, the ball seemingly went flying into Aaron Nesmith's foot and was ruled a kicked ball. However, upon watching the replay, it was clear that the ball did not hit Nesmith's foot, but rather his right hand.

Following this game, Fred Katz of The Athletic spoke to Game 1 Officiating Crew Chief Zach Zarba about the kicked ball call. Confirming the obvious, Zarba confirmed that the post game review showed that the ball did indeed hit Nesmith's hand instead of his foot, which is perfectly legal contact. Additionally, Zarba stated that Rick Carlisle would not have been able to challenge this call as kicked ball violations are not reviewable under NBA rules, which led to the call standing, and Indiana's eventual loss.

Fans were not the only people who thought this call was a robbery, as Myles Turner even spoke on it after the game and stated that he knew Nesmith did not kick the ball. Additionally, Turner stated that he thinks players should decide the outcomes of games instead of referees, clearly alluding to the terrible officiating at the end of the game.

Pacers fans did not exactly need validation for their claims that they got robbed, but it certainly doesn't hurt. After Game 1, the entire NBA world got to see Indiana get cheated out of a win on the big stage, as had the kicked ball violation not been called, Indiana would have most likely gotten a fast break layup on the other end. Unfortunately, New York quickly scored and put the game away to lead the series 1-0 after Game 1.


With Game 1 over, there is nothing Indiana can do except keep their heads high and go into Game 2 stronger and ready to perform. Game 2 will also be at Madison Square Garden, and if the previous game is anything to go by, Indiana will once again not have the referees on their side. Their best bet is to play their hearts out and come to win.