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The NBA excuses the referees from not having a call in the Knicks loss

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One day after the Knicks’ fault-filled loss to the Raptors, the NBA reviewed the film and cleared its officials of any wrongdoing — late in the game, at least.

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The league’s last two minutes report, released Tuesday, found no missed calls (or no missed calls) in the final two minutes of regulation or overtime in The Knicks lost 123-121 at the Park Monday night.

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said he wanted to review the film first before criticizing the officialsBut he admitted, “It was hard to tell what was wrong.”

On one play, which came under scrutiny, the NBA admitted that Toronto player Scotty Barnes made contact with the “upper arm” of RJ Barrett, who tied the game with 1.2 seconds left in regulation with the score 110-110. The false call would have given Barrett a chance to put the Knicks ahead. But the university found that the swallowing whistle was a valid non-contact because the contact “did not affect the pace, speed, balance, and/or rhythm of his shot”.

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RJ Barrett dunked late in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime.
Jason Szenes

“At that time, the refs wouldn’t call a foul,” Barrett said Monday. “It just has to go up hard. It doesn’t really matter who’s there.”

The Knicks were called for 28 fouls, three times more than the Raptors, and Toronto converted that into 41 free throws, six more than the Knicks. The Knicks made 68 two-pointers, 16 more than the Raptors, and this advantage leads to more draws.

Thibodeau challenged Jalen Brunson’s shooting foul with 3:27 left in overtime, arguing that Barnes pushed Brunson onto Fred VanVleet. The challenge was denied, and VanVleet hit two free throws to hold the Raptors’ lead to three.

Since the play has not come within the last two minutes, it has not been publicly reviewed.

“I don’t really care if a tight game is called or if it is called loose. I just want consistency,” said Thibodeau. “That’s what I’m looking for. And so, it was physical. She was. There was a lot going on. And again, I want to watch to make sure I saw what I thought I saw.”


When the Knicks host the Wizards on Wednesday, Kristaps Porzingis is expected to play his fourth game at the park since he was traded to the Knicks four years ago.

Christaps Porzingis goes up to shoot the Pelican on January 9, 2023.
Christaps Porzingis goes up to shoot the Pelican on January 9, 2023.
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On Porzingis’ previous three outings, Knicks fans fiercely booed the 2015 fourth overall pick, who requested a trade while recovering from a torn ACL. Porcingis, now 27, recently admitted he has some regrets.

“Can I go back and do things differently? Absolutely, on our part,” Porzingis told NBA.com last week. “I got hurt. If I had continued to play, it would have been completely different. I’m young and I listen to people and what they tell me about what I should do with my career. You don’t know any better. That’s how it went at the time.”

“I can only say really good things about the organization because I had so much fun playing there in New York and playing in front of these fans.”


Bradley Bell, who has missed five straight games since his left hamstring injury aggravated, is dubious about returning to Washington. The shooting guard returned to full basketball action last week.

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