Pool Report Casts Bad Light on Knicks Win; Tom Thibodeau Weighs In

Knicks' Donte DiVincenzo and Josh Hart celebrate

Getty Josh Hart #3 of the New York Knicks is congratulated by teammate Donte DiVincenzo #0 after Hart scored the game winner against the Detroit Pistons at Madison Square Garden.

Crew chief James Williams admitted their blunder that cast a bad light on the New York Knicks‘ 113-111 win over the Detroit Pistons in a controversial finish on Monday, February 26, at Madison Square Garden.

The play in question was Donte DiVincenzo‘s dive for the ball, slamming on Pistons rookie Ausar Thompson’s legs. The referees did not blow their whistles which led to 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.

Williams explained it further that “if the ball is loose, players on both teams have equal opportunity to it.  It becomes a matter of who gets there first.”

In this instance, Thompson got to the ball first.

“We determined that his left hand gets to the ball prior to DiVincenzo’s hand getting to it,” Williams said.

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau deferred his comment on the controversial play but he was okay with the game’s officiating because he felt there was consistency.

“I don’t want to comment on stuff like that because I haven’t watched the film,”  Thibodeau told reporters during his postgame press conference. “I thought in general, it was very physical. Jalen’s drive, I thought, there was a lot of contact. But I was okay with that because I felt like there was contact the other way as well.

So, to me it’s not as tight one way and loose the other way. You can call it tight, you can call it loose. I’m looking for consistency. I thought they were. It was a hard-fought game. I thought they played well and I thought we battled.”

Monty Williams Slams Refs for Non-Call

While Thibodeau was okay with the officiating, Pistons coach Monty Williams was livid about it.

“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.”

The Knicks may now call it even with the NBA after they put their 105-103 loss to the Houston Rockets on February 12 under protest. This time, they were the beneficiary of the referees’ error.

Josh Hart’s Heroics

Hart’s heroics capped off his second 23-point effort in February.

The Knicks’ undersized forward 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.

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