Berliner Tageblatt - NBA denies Knicks protest of loss despite referee error

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NBA denies Knicks protest of loss despite referee error
NBA denies Knicks protest of loss despite referee error / Photo: © GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File

NBA denies Knicks protest of loss despite referee error

The NBA denied a protest by the New York Knicks on Wednesday of their 105-103 loss at Houston earlier this month, although it came from a referee's mistake.

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The Knicks were deadlocked at 103-103 in the final seconds of the February 12 contest when New York's Jalen Brunson was whistled for making contact with Houston's Aaron Holiday on a last-second 3-point shot.

Holiday sank two free throws after the foul by Brunson to deliver the Rockets a victory.

In protesting the result, the Knicks argued that a shooting foul was called incorrectly on Brunson, who appeared to make only incidental contact on the play.

In a statement, the league said the Knicks were required to demonstrate there was a misapplication of official NBA playing rules as opposed to an error in judgment by referees.

"Because the foul call at issue reflected an error in judgment, New York did not demonstrate a misapplication of the playing rules and the extraordinary remedy of upholding a game protest was not warranted," the NBA said in the statement.

Referee crew chief Ed Malloy said after the game that while he believed a foul had been committed when he saw the play, a slow-motion replay showed him that he had been mistaken on the call.

A later report by the NBA on the last two minutes of the contest supported the Knicks, saying the foul whistled on Brunson was an incorrect call -- meaning Holiday should never have been sent to the free throw line.

The Knicks rank fourth in the Eastern Conference at 35-24 despite losing seven of their past 10 games while the Rockets are 25-33, 12th in the Western Conference.