Knicks Coach Tom Thibodeau Blasts Refs With 4-Word Statement

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau

Getty Tom Thibodeau head coach of the New York Knicks reacts during the third quarter of the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau was incensed the referees missed what he viewed as a foul on Oklahoma City Thunder’s Lu Dort, who appeared to have hit Jalen Brunson on his go-ahead drive with 4.1 seconds left.

“Write what you see,” Thibodeau repeatedly told reporters after the Oklahoma City Thunder survived the Knicks 113-112 on March 31. “That’s all I can say. Write what you see.”

Brunson hit the ground after the tough drive and immediately raised his hands, asking for a foul from the referees.

A bonus free throw, if Brunson successfully converts, could have given the Knicks a two-point lead that would have pushed the game into overtime even after Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s turnaround jumper with 1.8 seconds left.

Gilgeous-Alexander’s basket turned out to be the game-winner as Brunson misfired at the buzzer.

“He said it wasn’t a foul,” Brunson said, per ESPN, after his lengthy chat with the referee after the loss. “To put it into a long story short, that’s what he said.”

Knicks’ Struggles in Non-Jalen Brunson Minutes

The disputed non-call would not have mattered if only the Knicks had not squandered a 10-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter.

With Brunson resting at the beginning of the final period, the Thunder took advantage. A 15-5 run in the first three minutes allowed Oklahoma City to tie the game at 90-all.

“Well, the thing is that he’s got to go to the bench sometime,” Thibodeau said of Brunson. “And right now when he’s out, we got to find a way to manufacture some points. But at the same time, you’re trying to buy a minute or two for Josh [Hart].

We can’t forget we have three starters out right now. So, normally, you have two starters on the floor with your second group. But we got more than enough.”

The Thunder beach outscored the Knicks’ second unit 36-18.

The absence of Mitchell Robinson (ankle), Julius Randle (shoulder) and OG Anunoby (elbow) took a toll on the Knicks.

Hart, who delivered 13 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists in 45 minutes, raised alarm bells with only eight games left in their regular-season schedule.

“I’m looking at it like this is the team we’re going to have,” Hart told reporters, per SNY. “I think that’s how we have to approach it. That those guys aren’t coming back and we’ll be pleasantly surprised if they come back.”

Robinson was a late scratch after briefly returning for two games since his comeback from an ankle surgery. Anunoby has missed the last seven games after experiencing inflammation in his surgically repaired elbow. Randle has been out since January 27.

Cold Reality Begins to Sink In

Despite the loss and the ugly ending, Thibodeau was pleased with the Knicks’ overall effort as they nearly beat the top team in the West with a depleted lineup.

“And they’re good,” Thibodeau said of the Thunder. “They’re sitting atop the West. So we’re a basket away from winning the ballgame. And so, if Alexander’s shot goes out, right? Well, we’re sitting here and talking a whole different narrative.”

But the cold reality about this Knicks team without their 3 starters is beginning to sink in with the playoffs on the horizon.

They can only go as far as Brunson carries them.

Two nights after his career-high 61 points were not enough to beat Victor Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs, Brunson failed again against Gilgeous-Alexander, one of the top MVP candidates, and the Thunder.

Brunson scored 30 points but only went 4 of 8 from the stripes. The Knicks missed five three throws down the stretch, including three from Brunson.

“It was a pretty physical game,” Thibodeau said. “Then it became a touch game. So we have to adjust.”




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