Skip to content

Carlisle: Pacers' Game 1 collapse 'totally on me'

Elsa / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Head coach Rick Carlisle is taking the blame for his Indiana Pacers' epic meltdown in the final moments of regulation during Tuesday's 133-128 overtime loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final.

"This loss is totally on me," Carlisle said, according to the Indianapolis Star's Dustin Dopirak.

A trio of gaffes in the last minute of the fourth quarter allowed the Celtics to stay alive. First, All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton lost his dribble out of bounds while pressured by the Celtics' Jrue Holiday.

Then, up three with 10 seconds left and in possession of the ball, Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard threw an inbound pass to Pascal Siakam in their zone that the former All-Star couldn't corral, gifting the Celtics the ball under Indiana's basket.

Carlisle took ownership of that play as well, saying he "should have called timeout and advanced the ball" to halfcourt, which would have given the team more space to run an inbound play.

The final questionable decision came on Jaylen Brown's clutch game-tying 3-pointer in the final seconds, with Carlisle stating the Pacers intended to foul Boston and prevent a long ball to even the score. However, with the Celtics running a quick play, he understood Siakam's decision to avoid fouling with the risk of conceding a 4-point play and losing the game outright.

After the three mixups allowed Boston to force overtime, Jayson Tatum scored 10 points in the extra frame to prevent the Pacers from pulling off a stunning Game 1 upset.

"I think it's discouraging just because of the plays that happened down the stretch, we feel like we were in position to win the game," Haliburton said, per ClutchPoints. "What I will say is encouraging is we have been trash in Game 1s for the first series and second series and today, we played great for about 47 minutes."

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox