NBA Denies New York Knicks' Protest Despite Referee Error

NBA Denies New York Knicks’ Protest Despite Referee Error

The NBA has rejected a protest lodged by the New York Knicks regarding their 105-103 loss to the Houston Rockets earlier this month, despite the game’s outcome being influenced by a referee error.

The controversial moment occurred in the final seconds of the February 12 matchup when the Knicks and Rockets were deadlocked at 103-103. New York’s Jalen Brunson was penalized for apparent contact with Houston’s Aaron Holiday on a last-second 3-point shot. Consequently, Holiday was awarded two free throws, ultimately securing the victory for the Rockets.

In their protest, the Knicks contended that the shooting foul called on Brunson was incorrect, with replays suggesting only incidental contact on the play. However, the NBA ruled that the protest did not meet the criteria for intervention, as it failed to demonstrate a misapplication of official NBA playing rules, as opposed to an error in judgment by the referees.

The league emphasized that the foul call, albeit erroneous, was a product of referee judgment and did not constitute a breach of the playing rules necessitating an extraordinary remedy like upholding a game protest.

Referee crew chief Ed Malloy acknowledged after the game that, upon reviewing the play in slow motion, he realized his initial assessment of a foul was mistaken. Subsequently, a post-game NBA report on the final two minutes of the contest supported the Knicks’ position, deeming the foul on Brunson to be an incorrect call and concluding that Holiday should not have been awarded free throws.

Despite the setback, the Knicks maintain a strong position in the Eastern Conference, currently sitting fourth with a 35-24 record, despite enduring a recent stretch of seven losses in their last ten games. Meanwhile, the Rockets hold a 25-33 record, placing them 12th in the Western Conference standings.