A lot of fans were not too sure about the officiating in the first game of the NBA Playoffs clash between the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks. There were a lot of moving screens, unnecessary roughness, and some questionable calls made or not called in this matchup. Jalen Brunson and his squad narrowly escaped the Tyrese Haliburton-led team but it did not come without controversy. Even the league's last two-minute report (NBA L2M report) posits that there were a lot of momentum-swinging mistakes made by the referees.

Issues during Knicks vs. Pacers

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) brings the ball up court against Indiana Pacers forward Aaron Nesmith (23) during the first quarter of game one of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden
© Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The first mistake made by the referees during crunch time was with Myles Turner. A defensive three-second violation would have been called on the Pacers' big man. There were no members of the Knicks near him in the paint but he stayed longer in that area without having a whistle blown. This was deemed an incorrect non-call in the last two-minute report.

The second error in this Pacers against Knicks NBA Playoffs clash involved Donte DiVincenzo. An offensive foul that would have caused the Knicks the possession and momentum was not called. Here, the Knicks' shooter set a screen against Aaron Nesmith. While the pick was legal, he prevented the Pacers guard from disengaging by holding on to his arm and disallowed him from navigating through it. This was classified as an incorrect non-call.

Another crucial miscall involved Aaron Nesmith and it's the third for this NBA Playoffs clash's crunch time. The Pacers guard made contact with the ball during the last 52 seconds of the game. It was initially assessed that he committed a kicked-ball violation. Now, the decision was that it was an incorrect call because it touched his hands and not his foot. No replay was called to re-evaluate this play.

The last foul that needed re-assessment was the collision between Donte DiVincenzo and Myles Turner. A screen was drawn up by Rick Carlisle but the Pacers big man got there late. He then extended his body to still attempt to block the path of the Knicks player and it worked. Unfortunately, this should have been called an offensive foul. The league has taken their initial decision back and ruled it an incorrect non-call.

More officiating lapses in the NBA Playoffs

Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) reacts during the fourth quarter of game one of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden
© Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

These four issues in the NBA L2M report that could have swung this Knicks and Pacers series were not the only things that bothered fans. There have been odd calls throughout the NBA Playoffs that left avid spectators scratching their heads. It has gone worse because even officials are admitting that they should have overturned certain calls after the game.

A big example of this was Zach Zarba after Game 1 of the clash between Tyrese Haliburton and Jalen Brunson. He admitted that the call on Nesmith should not have been that way but it was out of their hands because they couldn't review it any longer.

“On the floor, we felt that would be a kicked ball violation. The post-game review did show that it hit the defender's hand, which would be legal. A kicked-ball violation is not reviewable and not subject to the coach's challenge. The three things that teams can challenge are fouls, goaltends, and out-of-bounds,” he said.

Will there be any means for the league to fix these issues? Or, will it remain a constant cycle of admitting mistakes in the NBA L2M report without any changes?