NBA Accused of Favoring Knicks, Says Kobe's Ex-Teammate

Tensions rise amid controversial calls in NBA playoffs.

by Nouman Rasool
NBA Accused of Favoring Knicks, Says Kobe's Ex-Teammate
© Harry How/Getty Images

Former Los Angeles Lakers star Nick Young has raised allegations of biased officiating favoring the New York Knicks in their Eastern Conference Semi-Final against the Indiana Pacers. Young voiced his concerns via X (formerly Twitter), following a contentious Game 2, where the Knicks emerged victorious with a score of 130-121, leading the series 2-0.

In his tweet, Young stated bluntly, "They cheating for the Knicks," highlighting his displeasure with the game's officiating. The controversy centered around a pivotal moment late in the game when a double-dribble violation initially called against the Knicks was controversially overturned.

This decision deprived the Pacers of a critical possession that might have swung the game in their favor. The situation escalated when Pacers coach Rick Carlisle received two technical fouls and an ejection after expressing his frustration over the reversed call.

Reflecting on the officiating throughout the series, Carlisle pointed out in the post-game interview that the smaller-market teams deserve equitable treatment. He revealed that the Pacers had identified 29 questionable calls in the first game of the series but decided against formally reviewing them, hoping for a more balanced officiating approach in the subsequent games.

Carlisle Calls for Fairness

"I decided not to submit them because I felt we'd get a more balanced whistle tonight. It didn't feel that way," Carlisle stated, as reported by ESPN. He emphasized the importance of not focusing on the officials, yet expressed the need for fairness, "We deserve a fair shot." Despite the controversial calls, Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton, who delivered a strong performance with 34 points, six rebounds, nine assists, and three steals, refused to blame the loss solely on officiating.

"At the end of the day, we got outplayed. We were right there to win the game," Haliburton said, advocating for consistency but acknowledging the team's shortcomings. Haliburton remained optimistic about the Pacers' chances as the series moves back to Indianapolis for Game 3.

"It's 2-0. We're going back to Indy. I like us in any matchup. I'm not worried," he declared confidently. The Pacers, who led by ten points at halftime, could not maintain their momentum, losing the third quarter 36-18 and ultimately the game.

As the series progresses, the Pacers look to rebound on their home court, hoping for a fair chance to showcase their capabilities without the overshadowing issue of officiating.