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Knicks take Game 1 from Pacers as controversial late foul sparks fury on social media

The New York Knicks escaped with a Game 1 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night, 121-117, and it came with some controversy over a questionable call late in the game.

With about 12 seconds left in the game and Indiana down one point, Tyrese Haliburton was about to make a move on Donte DiVincenzo as Myles Turner set a screen. However, DiVincenzo fell down as he ran into the Turner screen and sold it as though he had been hit hard.

The referees called a foul on Turner, and the ball went back to the Knicks.

“Just in my experience in this league I think it’s best when you let the players decide the outcome of the game,” Turner said after the game. “”I think it’s unfortunate that it happened … called it an illegal screen. It’s the playoffs. I think DiVincenzo did a good job selling it. For the most part, you can’t leave the game to be decided by the refs. We have to take accountability as well. We know at the end of the day we can’t get to that position.”

Indiana challenged the play, but the call was upheld. The call drew plenty of reaction.

“That is shocking,” Stan Van Gundy said on the broadcast. “You never see that call at this point in the game. I mean, never. … That is a great acting job. Lot of great actors here in New York City; you see ’em on Broadway all the time. That’s as good an acting job as you’ll see.”


“Entourage” star Jerry Ferrara wrote on X, “The NBA wants the Knicks to win. My favorite take. Well if that’s true then it’s about time. Tough call in that situation but if you think that decided the game go watch something else.”


“LOL,” Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid added.

ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr. wrote, “I’ve been a Knicks fan since 1973 and the referees just fleeced the Pacers at MSG. Ruined a fantastic series opener.”

Donte DiVincenzo hits a clutch 3-pointer

The referees did admit they incorrectly called a late kicked ball violation against the Packers, who by rule could not challenge the play. It happened with 52 seconds left. Aaron Nesmith appeared to knock the ball from Jalen Brunson, but it was determined Nesmith kicked it.

Twelve seconds later, DiVincenzo hit another clutch 3-pointer.

Brunson scored 43 points in the win and became the fourth player to score at least 40 points in four consecutive postseason games since Michael Jordan in the 1993 NBA Finals.

“The little things can go a long way,” Brunson said. “So yeah, the 40 points are cool and all, but it’s the little things that help us win games like that. So I’m just happy to have the group of guys that I do.”

Jalen Brunson drives on Aaron Nesmith

Game 2 is back at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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