NBA denies Knicks' protest of loss in Houston, saying referee error is not grounds to overturn

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New York Knicks forward Bojan Bogdanovic, left, looks back as head coach Tom Thibodeau, right, protests a foul call during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

NEW YORK – The NBA has denied the Knicks' protest of their loss in Houston, two days after New York won a game in large part because of a call that was determined to be incorrect.

The Knicks protested their 105-103 loss to the Rockets on Feb. 12, a game that ended with Houston's Aaron Holiday making two free throws after officials called a foul on New York's Jalen Brunson with 0.3 seconds remaining. After the game, referee Ed Malloy said the contact between the players was marginal and no foul should have been called.

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However, that is not grounds to overturn the result, the NBA ruled Wednesday.

“Under the standard for NBA game protests, New York was required to demonstrate that there was a misapplication of the official playing rules, as opposed to an error in judgment by game officials,” the league said in a statement. “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.”

There hasn't been a protest upheld in the NBA since the 2007-08 season, when an error by the Atlanta stat crew led to Miami’s Shaquille O’Neal fouling out of a game when he had only five fouls at the time. The league ordered the final 51.9 seconds of their game to be replayed.

The Knicks escaped with a 113-111 victory over Detroit on Monday after Josh Hart made the go-ahead basket with 2.8 seconds remaining. Officials reviewed tape of the game afterward and determined that New York's Donte DiVincenzo should have been called for a foul on Pistons rookie Ausar Thompson that instead allowed the Knicks to regain possession of the ball, with Detroit coach Monty Williams saying it was “the absolute worst call of the season.



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