Knicks Wing Josh Hart Puts Officials on Blast After Heartbreaking Loss

Josh Hart Knicks Nets

Getty New York Knicks wing Josh Hart reacts during a game against the Brooklyn Nets.

The New York Knicks logged their second consecutive loss on Wednesday night, dropping a critical game to the Miami Heat (who now sit just two games behind them in the Eastern Conference standings). And while the team had its issues on the defensive end once again, the hot topic after the contest was missed calls.

Perhaps the most egregious one took place with just 34.6 seconds remaining and the Knicks still battling, down 123-118.

After flirting with a five-second violation to begin the play, Heat point guard Kyle Lowry got the ball into Max Strus, who eventually found Jimmy Butler. At that point, Josh Hart and RJ Barrett successfully trapped Butler, pushing him all the way back to the halfcourt line and forcing him to change his pivot foot along the way.

Rather than whistling the travel, though, the official — who had a clear view of the play — called Barrett for a foul. From there, it was academic for Miami; Butler put the game out of reach with a pair of free throws and, in the end, his team escaped with a 127-120 win.

In the immediate aftermath of the setback, Hart took to Twitter to denounce the way the stretch run was officiated.

Knicks Wing Josh Hart Rages Over Missed Traveling Call on Jimmy Butler

Mere moments after the game was on the books, Hart quote-tweeted a post (embedded above) that featured video footage of the traveling call that wasn’t. In doing so, he chastised the official on the play for missing such a big call in the clutch.

“In a two possession game under a minute…” Hart wrote.

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau seemingly echoed that sentiment during his postgame media availability, alluding to some phantom foul calls from the referees. And one could hardly blame him for having questions given the fact that Butler racked up 14 free-throw attempts on the night.

“I want to look at the fouls because I think that that was a big part of this game,” Thibodeau told reporters. “Some of them are marginal but I want to make sure that I’m seeing what I’m seeing.”

That said, he was similarly displeased with the defensive effort in the game. And the numbers paint a particularly ugly portrait of what transpired.

Knicks’ Defense Collapses Again

Against a shorthanded Minnesota Timberwolves team on Monday night, the Knicks allowed their opponent to shoot a blistering 61.4% from the floor and 58.3% from three-point range en route to a 140-point showing.

It was more of the same on Wednesday, as Butler and Co. shot 57.0% overall (including 66.7% during the fourth quarter) and 57.1% from deep. Those numbers sting even more, though, when one considers that the Heat’s offense ranks 26th league-wide for the year (they’re scoring just 111.9 points per 100 possessions). They also rank 27th in the Association in three-point shooting at 34.1%.

Said Thibodeau of the performance: “I thought it was a hard-fought game but our defense obviously wasn’t good enough.”

The Knicks won’t have long to nurse their wounds as a bout with the scrappy Orlando Magic looms. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday night.

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