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April 12, 2024

Knicks filing protest with NBA to dispute Monday’s loss to Rockets: Source

Knicks filing protest with NBA to dispute Monday’s loss to Rockets: Source

The New York Knicks are filing a protest to dispute Monday’s 105-103 loss to the Houston Rockets, a league source confirmed Tuesday.

With the score tied at 103, Rockets guard Aaron Holiday chucked up a prayer 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds remaining. Referee Jacyn Goble ruled it a foul on Knicks guard Jalen Brunson for running into the shooter. Holiday connected on 2 of 3 free-throw attempts to win the game for Houston.

After the final buzzer, crew chief Ed Malloy admitted in an interview that Brunson made “incidental contact” and the play should not have been called a foul. Had the whistle not sounded, the Knicks and Rockets would have gone into overtime tied at 103.

“After seeing it during a postgame review, the offensive player was able to return to a normal playing position on the floor,” Malloy said in the interview with a pool reporter. “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.”

The Knicks’ perspective The goal would be to continue the game. If the Knicks win the protest, New York and Houston would meet again to play a five-minute overtime period.

Rumblings that the Knicks were considering a protest began as soon as the final buzzer sounded Monday in Houston. Of course, winning a protest requires more than just the admission of a incorrect call, even when that call decides the final outcome.

A team must prove that officials misapplied a rule, which means for the Knicks to have a chance here, they have to show Monday’s referees gaffed not just conventionally.

New York could compare the final play of regulation to the last one of the first half, when a similar play occurred. In this instance, Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo rose for a deep 3-pointer just before the buzzer sounded. When Holiday, who rushed to close out on him, clipped his leg, officials called a three-shot foul.

But they had to go to the monitor to see if there was time on the clock when the foul occurred. Once they established a fraction of a second remained, the Rockets challenged the foul. Not only did Houston win the challenge, eliminating the foul on Holiday, but it also got the refs to change the call to a foul on DiVincenzo, who stuck his leg out on the play, knocking Holiday to the ground.

The Knicks could argue the play at the end of the game wasn’t much different than the DiVincenzo one. Watch the replay of Brunson fouling Holiday closely, and you can see Holiday slightly kicking out a leg. But the kickout on the fourth-quarter play was far more subtle than DiVincenzo’s. And even if the Knicks proved an inconsistency between those two plays, that may not necessarily count as a misapplication of the rules.

There is a reason teams rarely file protests. And when they do, there is a reason they rarely win. Just proving a blown call is not enough. And it won’t be easy for the Knicks to prove foul play beyond that here. — Fred Katz, Knicks staff writer

Where do the Rockets stand on the matter? It seems like the Rockets aren’t particularly concerned about a possible Knicks protest. For one, the odds of a successful protest are extremely low, dating back to the 2007-08 regular season when the last one was granted.

Secondly, Houston went through a similar process in December 2019, filing a protest over a James Harden dunk that wasn’t given in a double-overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Although James Capers, the official who was in charge that day, admitted fault after the game, the league still denied the Rockets’ claim after conducting their investigation.

The process of filing a protest is arduous, comparable to lengthy legal proceedings, in addition to the $10,000 protest fee required. Of course, the financial aspect sounds like a drop in a bucket to a billionaire, but the amount of work necessary to go through with proceedings might not be worth the hassle, especially if the odds are historically against the protesting team. — Kelly Iko, Rockets staff writer

Required reading
Officials admit they made wrong call on final play of Knicks’ loss
(Photo of Jalen Brunson: Carmen Mandato / Getty Images)

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