May 19, 2024

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Rick Carlisle exploded for benching TJ McConnell in loss to the Knicks

Rick Carlisle exploded for benching TJ McConnell in loss to the Knicks


Rick Carlisle had all kinds of complaints about the officials after the Pacers’ Game 2 loss to the Knicks on Wednesday night, but the head coach is drawing the ire of those who believe he made a tactical error in the defeat.

Guard TJ McConnell sat idly on the bench after being pulled with seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, what former top-10 pick Nick Stauskas described as a fireable offense.

The Pacers — especially guard Andrew Nembhard — struggled to contain Jalen Brunson down the stretch with McConnell sidelined, and the Knicks pulled away.

TJ McConnell got off to a hot start in the fourth quarter before being benched. NBAE via Getty Images

“I’m sorry but if you’re the Indiana Pacers, you can’t ever take Tee McConnell out of the game in the fourth quarter and put Nembhard on the field and expect to win?” Stauskas said in a now-deleted Instagram Story Reposted by KnicksMuse on X.

“TJ (18 points, 22 minutes, +9 on the floor)…Nembhard (11 points, 29 minutes, -13). Oh yeah, it’s just a coincidence that Brunson scored 16 points in the last 6 minutes while Nembhard was guarding him? What an absolute joke! An unforgivable mistake by the Pacers coaching staff that will cost them their season and their job if they don’t watch some damn film and wake up!

Carlisle’s decision also received heavy criticism from TNT commentators as well as fans, with Stan Van Gundy noting that the Pacers “are going to need to do something different” in the minute McConnell was substituted out of the game with 7:10 remaining and the Knicks leading. , 105-103.

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“We’ll see how it goes…but Rick Carlisle may have to bring TJ McConnell back later in the quarter after he gets some rest to guard Jalen Brunson,” Van Gundy said. “It was his toughest game ever.” . After Brunson beat Nembhard off the dribble for a layup with 6:50 remaining.

On the Knicks’ next possession, with 6:14 remaining and the Knicks leading by two, Brunson drilled a 3-pointer with Nembhard guarding him.

Indiana Pacers’ Rick Carlisle is under fire for benching TJ McConnell. Getty Images

“Jalen Brunson killed that game,” Van Gundy said. “Nembhard is a good defender, but he decided that matchup in two games. They’re going to have to do something different here.”

“I’ve noticed that Nembhard doesn’t get into it as much as McConnell does,” Van Gundy said of the bout with Brunson. “that it [Brunson] Able to have a small space.”

Nembhard was then able to get down and hit a 3-pointer, at which point Reggie Miller said that was the trade-off, as McConnell doesn’t usually shoot from deep a lot.

Andrew Newmbhard struggled to contain Jalen Brunson in the second half. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Conn

But McConnell had six points, one rebound and one assist in just five minutes in the fourth quarter.

Nembhard didn’t take any more shots during the fourth quarter, picking up two more personal fouls and one assist during the seven minutes he played in the fourth quarter.

After the game, Carlisle said: “TJ played a good chunk of minutes.”

It was believed that Nembhard earned the right to close out the game with a power play against the Bucks’ Damian Lillard in the previous series.

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“I’ve thought about it” Carlisle told reporters About the possibility of McConnell shutting down the game. “But our starters gained the confidence to finish games. Nembhard was probably our best ball-handling defender, and we were flying around the block, too. We had the kitchen sink.” [Brunson] In the fourth period, still relying on loose balls, they grabbed offensive rebounds and made shots.

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McConnell had a plus/minus of +10, while no other starter had a number better than -9.

Nembhard had 15 points and four assists on excellent 7-for-9 shooting.

“When my number is called, I will be ready,” McConnell said. “If it means I have to be on the bench to support my teammates, I’ll do it at the highest level. Rick is a Hall of Fame coach. He’s been doing this for a long time, so the rotations that he plays, we’re confident that they are “I support him and everyone fully supports him in the deliberations.”

Lineups are a big question mark heading into Game 3 in Indianapolis on Friday.

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