The Pacers need Rick Carlisle to be better late in close games

Rick Carlisle has had multiple questionable calls in the last few games that have cost the Pacers some victories.
Mar 10, 2024; Orlando, Florida, USA; Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle looks on during the
Mar 10, 2024; Orlando, Florida, USA; Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle looks on during the / Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers have played some close games recently. Three of their last four games have been decided by ten points or less. The bad news is that they have only won one of those games. Part of the reason for that has been Rick Carlisle's coaching down the stretch.

Let me be clear: Carlisle is one of the best coaches in the game. I am pro-Carlisle and I think he is the right man to lead the Indiana Pacers. He uses his wealth of experience to get the best he can out of a team that only has one superstar and is devoid of another.

Even so, there have been some mistakes in the last few games that a coach with his kind of experience shouldn't be making. These mistakes are happening late in games during crunch time too, which makes it that much worse.

Rick Carlisle is having too many mistakes late with the Pacers

Let's start in Minnesota. Despite a flagrant foul not being called, the Pacers still had a shot to win at the end of the game. After a missed free throw with under eight seconds left, the Pacers had a shot to tie or win the game. Carlisle left his timeout in his pocket and let the Pacers go. Aaron Nesmith ended up having his layup blocked to end the game.

On Wednesday night against the Bulls, he had multiple blunders. Down the stretch in the fourth quarter, he left Obi Toppin in until there was just 1:59 left in the game. When Myles Turner finally checked in, he hit two big threes back-to-back. What took him so long to put Turner back in?

With five seconds left, Carlisle had the Pacers foul Demar DeRozan up three. That's fine. In fact, I like the strategy. The only problem is that he had Aaron Nesmith foul him. That was his sixth foul. The Bulls got an intentionally missed free throw and DeRozan hit the game-tying shot because Nesmith wasn't out there to guard him.

What's worse is that he couldn't guard him during the entire overtime period. At the end of overtime, DeRozan missed another free throw with the Pacers down three. Again with a chance to tie the game, Carlisle opted to not call a timeout. Tyrese Haliburton air-balled a three to lose.

Carlisle needed to call timeouts in those two games. He needed to have anyone else foul DeRozan in that situation too. These are mistakes a veteran coach can't make with a young team. Those two losses are on him, not the team.

Next. Next story. The Pacers need to bring this player back in free agency. dark

Carlisle should be better down the stretch. He's too good of a coach to keep making mistakes like this.