Rick Carlisle still seething over Pacers’ Game 5 letdown

Two days later, Rick Carlisle was still seething, furious with his team’s Game 5 performance. 

The Pacers’ coach challenged his players to be better in Friday’s Game 6. 

“F–king play hard,” Carlisle said ahead of Indiana’s elimination game. “That’s what we got to do. That’s what New York did in Game 5.”

Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle and assistant coach Jenny Boucek react during the second half during game five.
Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle and assistant coach Jenny Boucek react during the second half during game five. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

After crushing the Knicks by 32 points in Game 4 to even the series, coach Tom Thibodeau’s team returned the favor, blowing out the Pacers by 30.

They out-rebounded the Pacers by 24, outscored them in the paint by 26 and forced 18 turnovers.

Isaiah Hartenstein had twice as many offensive rebounds (12) as the entire Indiana team (five), and the Knicks attempted 29 more shots than the Pacers. 

“The statistical numbers on possession and turnovers and all that, it tells the story of a wipeout,” Carlisle said. “We got a lot of things we got to do better. We got to [play] harder and with a greater level of execution and detail.

“Words don’t accomplish anything. It’s actions. So [Friday] will be the key. I know that we’ll have a great crowd, a great building. We’re going to have to do a helluva lot more things better.” 

Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton
Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

It would certainly help if star guard Tyrese Haliburton finds his game.

He was a nonfactor in Game 5, limited to 13 points and nine field-goal attempts.

The Knicks forced the ball out of his hands, and he admitted Thursday he has to make more of an impact no matter what the opposition does.

In the Pacers’ two wins in the series, Haliburton is averaging 27.5 points and 21.5 shot attempts.

In the three losses, he has managed just 17.6 points and 11.3 shot attempts. 

“I just got to be more aggressive early in the game setting the tone, and we’ll be better,” he said. “I have feel, like I can feel it in the game. But I just got to do a better job of adjusting that when need be and figuring that out. Aggressive doesn’t mean shoot 30 shots or whatever it is, it’s getting two feet in the paint, be more aggressive, kind of an old-school way of thinking …. kind of that mentality is better for us.” 

Follow The Post’s coverage of the Knicks in the NBA playoffs

He added: “At the end of the day, I just got to be better at getting the ball.”

Asked about Haliburton needing to be more involved, Carlisle went back to the issue of effort. That has to improve for his team to force a do-or-tie Game 7. 

“The sweet spot is go rebound the f—ing ball and not take it out of the net and things will be a lot different,” the Pacers’ coach said.

Leave a Comment