NBA Junks Knicks Protest Over Controversial Loss to Rockets

Knick star Jalen Brunson shakes hands with Rockets

Getty Jalen Brunson #11 of the New York Knicks is guided off the court by Rick Brunso after shaking hands with Dillon Brooks #9 and other Houston Rockets players.

The NBA denied the New York Knicksprotest of their controversial 105-103 loss to the Houston Rockets on February 12.

The Knicks were hoping to overturn the foul called on Jalen Brunson during Aaron Holiday’s last-second attempt which led to game-winning free throws that denied them a chance to send the game into overtime.

Even if the game’s crew chief Ed Malloy and the subsequent Last 2 Minute report admitted the error, it was not enough for the league to overturn it.

“In live action, it was felt that the lower body contact was illegal,” Malloy said in the NBA pool report. “After seeing it during [the] postgame review, the offensive player was able to return to a normal playing position on the floor. The contact which occurred after the release of the ball therefore is incidental and marginal to the shot attempt and should not have been called.”

But according to the NBA, the Knicks failed to “demonstrate a misapplication of the playing rules and the extraordinary remedy of upholding a game protest was not warranted” since Brunson’s foul was a lapse in judgment and not a technical error.

“Under the standard for NBA game protests, New York was required to demonstrate that there was a misapplication of the official playing rules, as opposed to an error in judgment by game officials,” the league statement explained.

Karmic Justice

The league’s decision came two days after the Knicks, ironically, were the beneficiary of the referees’ poor judgment in the endgame of their 113-111 win over the league-worst Detroit Pistons on Monday, February 26.

Crew chief James Williams admitted their blunder that a foul should have been called on Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo, who dove into Piston’s rookie Ausar Thompson’s legs, in the closing seconds of the game before Josh Hart‘s game-winning basket.

“Upon postgame review, we determined that Thompson gets to the ball first, and then was deprived of the opportunity to gain possession of the ball.  Therefore, a loose ball foul should have been whistled on New York’s Donte DiVincenzo,” Williams said in the NBA Official pool report.

Call it Karmic justice for the Knicks.

Undermanned Knicks Fall to Pelicans

With Brunson (neck spasms) and Isaiah Hartenstein (Achilles soreness) joining OG Anunoby, Julius Randle (dislocated shoulder) and Mitchell Robinson (ankle surgery) in the sick bay, the shorthanded Knicks failed to follow up their victory over the Pistons.

Trey Murphy III, who was on the Knicks’ radar in the 2021 NBA Draft, tormented them with 16 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter to lead the New Orleans Pelicans’ 115-92 win on Tuesday, February 27, at Madison Square Garden.

Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson added 24 and 21 points, respectively.

DiVincenzo led the severely undermanned Knicks with 23 points while Bojan Bogdanovic came off the bench to add 20. Hart and Precious Achiuwa had 15 points apiece for the Knicks, who stumbled to 35-24, with the red-hot Miami Heat (33-25) on a five-game winning streak lurking behind them.

The Knicks will need Brunson and Hartenstein back when they host the surging Golden State Warriors on Thursday, February 29. The Warriors have found their rhythm after their early-season struggles, winning 8 of their last 10 games.

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