Josh Hart Saves Knicks as Monty Williams Rips Refs for ‘Worst Call of the Season’

Knicks' Josh Hart

Getty Josh Hart #3 of the New York Knicks celebrates his three-point shot during the second half against the Detroit Pistons at Madison Square Garden.

Josh Hart saved the New York Knicks from what could have been an embarrassing loss to the league’s worst team.

Hart scored the go-ahead basket with 2.8 seconds left then sealed a 113-111 win against the hard-luck Detroit Pistons at the free-throw line in a wild finish on Monday, February 26, at Madison Square Garden.

It was reminiscent of the Knicks’ 105-103 loss to the Houston Rockets on February 12, which is under protest. But this time, they were the beneficiary of the game official’s blunder.

Pistons coach Monty Williams ripped the officials for a non-call on Donte DiVincenzo, who dove at rookie Ausar Thompson’s legs for the loose ball that led to Hart’s endgame heroics.

“Where’s the New York media now? The absolute worst call of the season, no call. Enough’s enough,” Williams told reporters after the Knicks’ escape. “We’ve done it the right way, we’ve called the league, we’ve sent in clips. We’re sick of hearing the same stuff over and over again. We had a chance to win the game, and the guy dove into Ausar’s legs, and there was a no-call. That was an abomination. You cannot miss that in an NBA game. Period.”

Former Knicks wing Quentin Grimes gave the Pistons a 111-110 lead with 37 seconds left, capping off his 14-point explosion in the fourth quarter.

Jalen Brunson missed a 3-pointer but Hart stole the ball from Simone Fontecchio only for DiVincenzo to throw it away. But he made for it by diving at the ball and slamming on Thompson’s legs.

‘We Find a Way’

Hart’s heroics capped off his second 23-point effort in February. He had a complete line for the night, collecting 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 1 block in a yeoman’s job sans their starting frontcourt.

“Yeah, man! That sums up our team, sums up our city. We grind, we fight, we scratch, we claw and we find a way [to win],” Hart told MSG Network’s Rebecca Haarlow after the win that pushed their record to 35-23.

The Knicks maintained their hold of the fourth seed in the East over the 33-24 Philadelphia 76ers.

Brunson paced the Knicks with 35 points and 12 assists while DiVincenzo added 21 on 5 of 10 3-point shooting.

The Villanova trio continues to hold fort for the Knicks while Julius Randle (dislocated shoulder), OG Anunoby (elbow surgery) and Mitchell Robinson (ankle surgery) are still on the mend.

Chaotic First Meeting Since Trade

It was a playoff atmosphere at Madison Square Garden in the first meeting between the two teams since their trade deadline deal that swapped Grimes, Evan Fournier, Malachi Flynn, recently waived Ryan Arcidiacono and a second-round pick for Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks.

Grimes had 14 points, all in the fourth quarter, with 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 3 blocks off the bench for the Pistons. Fournier, who was met with loud boos, scored 7 points and 2 steals on Brunson. Flynn finished with 8 points and 2 assists as the former Knicks trio led the Pistons bench who had a 35-24 edge in the game.

On the other hand, Bogdanovic and Burks combined for 20 points to lead the Knicks’ second unit.

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