'No excuses', Carlisle insists as Pacers fall behind against Knicks

2 days ago
Knicks

Rick Carlisle insists there are "no excuses" after the Indiana Pacers' 121-91 defeat to the New York Knicks saw them fall behind in the Eastern Conference semi-final series.

Jalen Brunson top-scored with 44 points in Game 5 at Madison Square Garden as the Knicks edged 3-2 ahead in the series with a commanding win that moved them to the brink of their first Eastern Conference finals appearance since 2000.

Pascal Siakam's contribution of 22 points proved academic for Indiana, who must continue their unbeaten postseason run on home soil in Game 6 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse if they are to take the series into a decider.

The Pacers are making their first playoff appearance since 2018-19 - and targeting a first Conference finals appearance in 10 years - and Carlisle believes his side's marginal inexperience proved crucial in Game 5.

"There are no excuses," he said. "But all the guys on our roster, I believe it's the first time they've been in a Game 5, tied 2-2, going on the road. So, you learn a lot in those situations very quickly.

"This is a different circumstance, and as a playoff series, it's going to get harder and harder. Their overall level of fight in this game was superior to what ours was, and that's the bottom line."

Tyrese Haliburton added: "They made a lot of shots today. But with the ones they did miss, they grabbed the offensive rebounds."

Meanwhile, Knicks guard Miles McBride saluted the character of his team-mates, who bounced back from a humbling 121-89 defeat in Game 4.

"I think the shift started in the locker room in Indiana," he said. "We talked about it and knew we had to respond."

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