Knicks Star Accused of ‘Acting Job’ on Critical Game 1 Play

Knicks foe Myles Turner was not happy with the way the end of Game 1 unfolded.

Getty Knicks foe Myles Turner was not happy with the way the end of Game 1 unfolded.

If you’re backing the Knicks, you can find any number of reasons why the New Yorkers were able to continue their gritty, magical run in the NBA playoffs on Monday night against the Pacers. Jalen Brunson had his fourth consecutive 40-point effort. The Knicks controlled the boards, with a 40-32 advantage on the glass. OG Anunoby played stellar defense. And Donte DiVincenzo made huge shots.

If you’re a Pacers fan, well, you might have seen things differently. Two moments stand out: The kick-ball violation against the Pacers with 52 seconds remaining, which set up a back-breaking 3-pointer from DiVincenzo, and the moving screen on Myles Turner with 12 seconds remaining that effectively ended the game.

After the game, the refs admitted they blew the kicked-ball violation. They did not concede the moving screen, though, which was technically a correct call, but not one that normally would be whistled in a one-point playoff game with time winding down.

Oh, and DiVincenzo went down as if he’d been shot in the leg. It was a bit over the top.

Broadcaster and former coach Stan Van Gundy declared DiVincenzo’s performance worthy of a Tony Award.

“You never see that call at this point in the game. I mean never. That is a great acting job. Lot of great actors in New York City, see them all the time on Broadway,” Van Gundy said.

Pacers ‘Looking Forward’ to 2-Minute Report

Turner, for one, agreed. The Knicks were ahead at the time, so it’s impossible to say that the play cost the Pacers the game, but Indiana never got a final look at a game-winner because of it.

Turner said he was eager to see the dreaded last-two-minutes report from the NBA.

“We’re all looking forward to that coming out,” Turner said.

He went on to discuss the moving screen violation (via CBS Sports): “In my experience in this league, I think it’s the best when the players decide the outcome of the game. I think it’s unfortunate it happened. We reviewed it and they still called it illegal screen, but it’s the playoffs, man. I feel like DiVincenzo did a good job of selling it.”

Credit Turner, too, for recognizing that the Pacers had some letdowns that could have helped them avoid such a tight finish. They allowed the Knicks to shoot 47.8% from the 3-point line in the game, and lost one of their main advantages—fast-break points—as the Pacers lost the transition battle, 20-18.

Knicks Got Another Stunner From Jalen Brunson

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle laid off talking about the referees all together.

“I don’t want to talk about the officiating,” Carlisle said in his postgame press conference. “We’re not expecting to get calls in here. It would be nice if they laid off that one, but they didn’t.”

Similarly, it would be nice for the Pacers to find an answer for Brunson, who again topped the 40-point mark with a 43-point effort on 16-for-26 shooting. He was 14-for-14 from the free-throw line and added six assists.

The Pacers can take some comfort in knowing that the Sixers had no answers, either. After starting 16-for-55 in the Knicks’ first two playoff games, Brunson has now averaged 42.0 points on 50.0% shooting.

It would help, though, if Indiana star Tyrese Haliburton (who is dealing with a back injury) could get going. Haliburton had only six points on 2-for-6 shooting, his third-worst output of the season.

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