NBA

'It's just not acceptable' – Carlisle hits out at Pacers after 'ugly' Clippers loss

By Sports Desk December 19, 2023

Rick Carlisle lamented an "ugly" performance from the Indiana Pacers after his team lost to the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Pacers went down 151-127 to the Clippers on Monday, suffering a fourth straight defeat.

Since losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in the final of the NBA's in-season tournament, Indiana have won just one game, with that victory coming against the struggling Detroit Pistons.

And Carlisle pointed to a mentality shift being required if the Pacers are to turn things around.

"Tonight was ugly. It's just something that's not acceptable," he said after the Clippers game.

"I don't care how talented they are, or anything else, we just allowed them to really do whatever they wanted to do. I've got to take responsibility for not having these guys ready to play.

"We've got a huge target on our back because of winning some games in the tournament. The Pacers aren't sneaking up on anybody.

"But our mindset, if it's shifted to just simply trying to outscore teams and away from any kind of emphasis defensively, that's got to stop. If it means massive lineup changes, then that's what will happen."

"We're missing some of our best defenders right now, that doesn't help. But it's not a valid excuse. We're making a lot of mistakes, and we just need to do it better and we need to do it harder."

Carlisle did, however, refuse to accept full responsibility for the slump, putting the onus on the Pacers' star players.

"Our best players have to understand and they have to believe that the little things are important," he added.

"That concentration and focus are extremely important. And so when the best players believe it, they preach it and it becomes gospel. It can't just be the coach."

Tyrese Haliburton, who managed just eight points, echoed Carlisle's sentiment, saying: "I think that we got to where we were by just playing harder than people. And we’re not doing that right now. So the switch has to flip here, pretty quick."

While the Pacers are on a skid, the Clippers are in fine form, having now won their last eight games. It is the team's longest winning streak since a 10-game run in the 2015-16 season.

Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and James Harden ran the Pacers ragged, with the latter scoring 18 of his game-leading 35 points in the fourth quarter.

"It was fun to watch," Leonard, who had 28 points, said of Harden's fourth-quarter charge.

"We're not trying to play the score. We're trying to win the quarters. And even if we have 20 points, we've still got to do our jobs and be efficient."

Harden, who also added nine assists, said: "We're playing very, very well right now, so we just have to stay consistent in what we do. Every game is a new challenge for us as a unit.

"We're figuring it out, we're coming together, our chemistry is building game by game. There's a long way to go but we're definitely headed in the right direction."

Related items

  • Nets hire former Kings assistant Fernandez as coach Nets hire former Kings assistant Fernandez as coach

    The Brooklyn Nets have a new man in charge, hiring Jordi Fernandez as the 24th coach in franchise history on Monday.

    Fernandez spent the last two seasons as the associate head coach of the Sacramento Kings, helping lead them to the Pacific Division title and the third seed in the Western Conference a year ago for the franchise's first play-off berth since 2006.

    The Kings finished ninth in the West this season, and went 94-70 in Fernandez's two seasons on the Sacramento staff.

    The Nets ended up going 32-50 this season to miss the play-offs for the first time since 2018. They fired Jacque Vaughn at the All-Star break, and Kevin Ollie finished out the season as the interim coach.

     

    A native of Badalona, Spain, Fernandez also coaches Canada's men's national team. He helped Canada to a bronze medal in last year's FIBA Basketball World Cup with a win over Team USA in the third-place game.

    "We're thrilled to announce Jordi Fernández as Brooklyn's new head coach," said Nets general manager Sean Marks in a statement. "As we progressed through an extensive search over the past six weeks, it became increasingly clear that Jordi is the best coach to lead our team forward. Jordi brings a diverse set of experiences and basketball knowledge gained over the course of a coaching career that has taken him around the world. Each step of the way, Jordi has consistently demonstrated the ability to implement strong processes and creative systems designed to optimise each team's specific roster."

    Prior to his stop in Sacramento, Fernandez was an assistant coach for the Denver Nuggets for six seasons, during which the team made the play-offs four times.

    In addition to coaching Canada's team, Fernandez has other experience coaching on the global stage, serving as the lead assistant for the Nigerian national team at the 2020 Olympics. He also worked on the staff for the Spanish national team at EuroBasket 2017 and the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championships.

    "My family and I are thrilled to join such an incredible organisation and become part of the vibrant Brooklyn community," Fernandez said. "I am eager to get to work with this talented group of players and collectively drive our team forward. Together, we will be fully committed to building something special for Nets fans and the borough to be proud of for years to come."

  • 'It's playoff basketball' – Tatum unfazed by physical nature of Celtics-Heat battle 'It's playoff basketball' – Tatum unfazed by physical nature of Celtics-Heat battle

    Jayson Tatum showed he was unfazed by the Miami Heat's physicality as he logged his first career playoff triple-double in the Boston Celtics' 114-94 Game 1 victory on Sunday.

    Top-seeded Boston seized the initiative in their first-round series against Miami at TD Garden, with Tatum adding 10 rebounds and 10 assists to his 23 points, leading six Celtics in double figures.

    Tatum's fine performance came despite some rough treatment from the Heat, taking one huge hit from Caleb Martin while going up for a rebound in the last minute of the fourth quarter.

    Martin immediately went to help Tatum up but was pushed by Boston's Jaylen Brown, with both players awarded technicals. The Miami forward later said the incident was accidental, as he received a slight nudge from Jrue Holiday before crashing into Tatum.

    The five-star All-Star was soon back to his feet, though, and he later said getting hit was just part of the game. 

    "It's playoff basketball, and it's a physical game against a physical team. ***'s going to happen," Tatum said. "It's probably not the last time I'm going to get hit like that in this series.

    The Celtics led by as many as 34 points in the fourth quarter, with a late run from the Heat only ever bringing them as close as 14. 

    Tatum hailed Boston for staying focused throughout, adding: "It's supposed to be tough. In the playoffs no game is easy. 

    "There are no guaranteed wins regardless of the score, or how much time is left. We just had to respond and we did that."

    Miami struggled in the absence of Jimmy Butler, and coach Erik Spoelstra accepted they were second-best, saying: "Boston controlled this game from the tip. 

    "They won the big muscle areas. They definitely won the 3-point line and the majority of the areas in between."

    Elsewhere on Sunday, Milwaukee Bucks star Damian Lillard scored 35 first-half points – a franchise playoff record – as they claimed a 109-94 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of their own first-round series.

    Lillard didn't score after halftime, but his lightning start ensured the Bucks were untroubled despite the absence of two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who missed out with a calf strain. 

    Milwaukee built a commanding 69-42 lead by the interval and never saw their advantage drop to single digits as Khris Middleton tacked on 23 points – 15 of them in the second half.

    Looking ahead to Tuesday's second game, which will also be held at the home of the third-seeded Bucks, Lillard said: "In the playoffs, it's about setting the tone.

    "We're going to see this team a lot of times, and you want to establish yourself, especially on your home floor. That was my mentality, to come out and try and set the tone in that way."

    Remarking on Lillard's incredible first-half performance, Milwaukee coach Doc Rivers said: "He carried us. He was unbelievable."

    Over the course of four quarters, Lillard was upstaged by Indiana's Pascal Siakam, who finished with 36 points and 13 rebounds in 40 minutes on the court.

    Indiana head coach Rick Carlisle, however, was unable to look beyond their miserable start to the game.

    "The first half was embarrassing," Carlisle said. "We have no excuses. We've simply got to come out better. It was ugly, and we all own it."

  • 'Passive' Mavs suffer the consequences in Game 1 loss to Clippers 'Passive' Mavs suffer the consequences in Game 1 loss to Clippers

    Jason Kidd and Kyrie Irving were frustrated by a "passive" performance from the Dallas Mavericks, who went down 109-97 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.

    The Mavs were second best throughout the opening contest of their first-round series against the Clippers, who were without talisman Kawhi Leonard.

    James Harden stepped up with 28 points in Leonard's absence, Paul George chipped in with 22 and Ivica Zubac contributed a career-high 20 points, adding 15 rebounds.

    Dallas, seeded fifth, shot just 38.8 per cent for the game, and were 56-30 down by halftime.

    Doncic finished with 33 points, while Irving finished with 31, but the latter was deeply frustrated by the Mavs' display.

    "It really centered around the foundational point of talking about physicality and this being the playoffs," Irving said.

    "A lot of guys aren't used to being here. A few young guys aren't used to being here, so they don't know what they can get away with and what the refs are going to call.

    "I think this was a great first test for us. We obviously failed and we came out with a loss, but I think there are some things we can take into Game 2."

    Mavs coach Kidd added: "They were physical and we were passive."

    For the Clippers, it was a timely reminder of what Harden is able to offer.

    "I can score with the best of 'em," Harden said.

    "Still can score with the best of 'em. My role for this team is just generating really good shots and making guys' jobs easier.

    "And then when my number to score is called, then you score the basketball. Obviously, Kawhi is out, so my playmaking and my volume is going to go up a little bit more, and took advantage of it."

    Zubac lauded his teammate's performance, labelling Harden as "one of the greatest scorers this game has seen".

    "James was great," he said. "We needed him and he played great.

    "He is one of the greatest scorers this game has seen. He can do that on a nightly basis. It's just the role is different for him in this game and [with Leonard out], we need him to score more and that's what he did and we all know he can do that."

    Clippers coach Tyronn Lue chipped in with the praise, too, saying: "When he's scoring the basketball and making the right play, it's huge.

    "He understands that he doesn't have to do a lot of heavy lifting with Kawhi and PG both on the floor.

    "But if one of those guys are out, he has to step up and be aggressive to score the basketball. That is what he has been doing for us of late. I thought he really set the tone early."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.