Talk about a passionate crowd. The New York Knicks inched past the Indiana Pacers in the first game of their Knicks vs. Pacers NBA playoff series on Monday (May 6). For pretty much anyone watching the game, it was obvious that both the wild New York City crowd and a late-game controversial call were major factors in the Knicks’ win.

Commentary on the Knicks vs. Pacers Series

The Wild New York Crowd

The next Knicks vs. Pacers game is Wednesday (May 8) at 8 p.m. EST back at Madison Square Garden. If I were the Pacers, I would come prepared for a difficult crowd. It’s hard to anticipate. But, now they’ve had a taste of that New York City crowd at Madison Square Garden during the playoffs, and it’s a rowdy bunch. I know that teams are used to playing in difficult environments, but I don’t think the Indiana Pacers were quite prepared for that explosive crowd. The New York City fans totally erupted each time the Knicks put points on the board, and they chanted a unison “defense, defense” every time the Pacers got the ball.

The Knicks vs. Pacers Controversial Call

I was impressed with how the Indiana Pacers handled the pressure. They were leading for most of the game. Some might say they should have won, especially with the game’s controversial ending that everyone is talking about.

So, what was the Knicks vs. Pacers controversial ending? With seconds on the clock, Myles Turner attempted to set a high ball screen for Tyrese Haliburton. From there, Donte DiVincenzo tried to fight around the screen, and DiVincenzo made hard contact with Turner and was thrust to the floor. This is New York, so DiVincenzo must have had some acting help, because he certainly put on a show. The refs bought it, and the referee whistled turnover. That was pretty much game over and quicky led to a three-pointer for the Knicks. I realize that there are bad calls on both sides of any game, but that one stuck out to me. This is the playoffs, where every call matters.

The crowd was happy, though. They experienced a super-close, riveting playoff game, where their team pulled of the win. It was a great game, unlike the blowout of a game that followed between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets. That game ended 106-80, with the Timberwolves certainly showing the Nuggets who’s boss. It’ll be interesting to see how this series ends, since Denver is the reigning champion.

But, back to that controversial Knicks vs. Pacers call. Quickly following the game, the NBA admitted that they got it wrong. They were flat-out wrong about the phantom kicked ball that helped New York get that three. After the game, all officials could do was admit that they got it wrong. Crew chief Zach Zarba said, “On the floor we felt that would be a kicked ball violation. Post game review did show that it hit the defender’s hand, which would be legal.” It didn’t change the outcome, though, which is heartbreaking for the Pacers.

In a post-game press conference, Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle was asked about the officiating. He took the high road but was visibly upset. “I don’t want to talk about the officiating,” he told reporters. “We’re not expecting to get calls in here.” There you have it. When you play in New York, you don’t expect it to be fair.

Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers also chimed in on the Knicks vs. Pacers game. His team was just eliminated by the Knicks in the first round and were also on the bad end of some late-in-the-game controversial calls at Madison Square Garden. He took to social media to say, “LOL.” Not a man of many words, but we get what you’re saying, Embiid.