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NBA playoffs: League admits refs missed multiple Knicks fouls before game-winner vs. Sixers

In Sports
April 24, 2024

The New York Knicks stunned the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday with the wildest sequence of the NBA playoffs so far. In the process, they got away with a foul or two.

That was the NBA’s judgment in the game’s Last 2 Minute Report released Tuesday, which concluded the officials made four incorrect no-calls in the final 120 seconds. Two of them were directly related to the Sixers turnover that led to Donte DiVincenzo‘s game-winning 3-pointer.

The play in question began with Jalen Brunson shooting a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left and getting a friendly bounce, cutting the Sixers’ lead to 101-99. Kyle Lowry inbounded the ball to Tyrese Maxey, who was being hounded by Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart.

Brunson clearly grabbed Maxey’s jersey right before the pass, then Hart made contact as Maxey tried to pull in the ball, leading to Maxey hitting the floor. Maxey tried in vain to pass the ball back to Lowry, but Hart came away with the ball and the rest is history.

After watching the play, the NBA ruled that both Brunson and Hart committed fouls on Maxey. Here’s how the league put it:

Brunson (NYK) pulls Maxey’s (PHI) jersey away from his body, which affects Maxey’s ability to secure the pass.

Hart (NYK) steps forward into Maxey’s (PHI) space and initiates lower body contact that causes Maxey to lose his balance and fall to the floor.

The other two missed calls were a defensive three-second violation on OG Anunoby with 1:14 remaining and a personal foul by Joel Embiid on DiVincenzo with 34.7 seconds left.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 22: Head coach Nick Nurse of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts toward the referee during the second half against the New York Knicks in Game Two of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 22, 2024 in New York City. The Knicks won 104-101. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Nick Nurse was irate at the end of Game 2 between the Sixers and Knicks. He had good reason. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Obviously, this will only amplify the Sixers’ complaints that Game 2 was stolen from them, leaving them in a 2-0 hole as the series moves to Philadelphia. The team reportedly plans to file an official grievance with the league over the game, after airing several unofficial ones the previous night.

One was by Sixers coach Nick Nurse, who can be seen bringing his hands together as if to call timeout as Lowry waits to inbound the ball. He later claimed he did call timeout after the game and was ignored by the official, via the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Gina Mizell:

“I call timeout (before the inbound). Referee looked right at me. Ignored me. It went into Tyrese. I called timeout again. Then the melee started … I guess I gotta run out onto the floor or do something to make sure to get his attention.”

That was an area where the NBA didn’t quite say the refs erred. It acknowledged that Nurse tried to call timeout, but merely noted it wasn’t recognized:

Maxey (PHI) brings his hands towards Hart (NYK) and marginal contact occurs as Maxey releases away from Hart during the inbound. An attempt to call a timeout by Coach Nurse (PHI) during this play is neither recognized nor granted by the officials.

Game 3 is scheduled for Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET in Philadelphia (TNT). You can imagine the Philadelphia fans will have a word or two for the NBA in the run-up to that.

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