Knicks file protest with NBA objecting to Monday's loss to Rockets: Source

An NFL source confirmed on Tuesday that the New York Knicks filed a protest against their 105-103 loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday.

With the score tied at 103 points, Rockets goalkeeper Aaron Holiday scored a three-pointer with 0.3 seconds left in the game. Referee Jacen Goble fouled Knicks guard Jalen Brunson for colliding with the shooter. Holiday connected on 2 of 3 free throw attempts to win the game for Houston.

After the final bell, crew chief Ed Malloy admitted in an interview that Brunson made “accidental contact” and the play should not be called a foul. If the whistle had not blown, the Knicks and Rockets would have gone into overtime tied at 103 points.

“After seeing it during the post-match review, the attacking player was able to return to his normal playing position on the ground,” Malloy said in an interview with a pool reporter. “Contact, which occurred after the ball was released, is incidental and marginal to the shot attempt, and should not be called.”

Nix's point of view

The goal will be to continue the game. If the Knicks win the protest, New York and Houston will 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 simply accepting an invalid call, even when that call decides the final outcome.

The team must prove that the officials misapplied the rule, which means that for the Knicks to have a chance here, they have to show that tMonday referees are not just conventionally confused.

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New York could compare the final play of regulation to the final play of the first half, when a similar play occurred. In this case, Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo rose to hit a deep 3-pointer just before the buzzer. When Holiday, who had rushed to approach him, shot him in the leg, officials ruled a three-shot foul.

But they had to go to the screen to see if there was a time on the clock when the error occurred. Once sure there was a split second left, the Rockets challenged the error. Not only did Houston win the challenge, clearing the foul on Holiday, but it also prompted the referees to change the call to a foul on DiVincenzo, who took his leg out of the play, sending Holiday crashing to the ground.

The Knicks could argue that the play at the end of the game wasn't much different than DiVincenzo's. Watch the replay of Bronson ruining Holiday closely, and you can see Holiday kicking the leg a little. But the kickoff in the fourth quarter was much more accurate than DiVincenzo's. Even if the Knicks demonstrate inconsistency between these two plays, it may not necessarily be considered a misapplication of the rules.

There's a reason teams rarely file protests. And when they do, there's a reason they rarely win. Merely proving the call is not enough. It wouldn't be easy for the Knicks to prove there was more crime than that here. — Fred Katz, Knicks staff writer

Where do the missiles stand on this matter?

It appears the Rockets aren't particularly concerned about the Knicks' potential protest. First, the odds of a successful protest are very low, dating back to the 2007-08 regular season when the last protest was approved.

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Second, Houston went through a similar process in December 2019, filing a protest of James Harden's missed goal in an overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Although James Capers, the official in charge that day, admitted the foul after the game, the league still denied the Rockets' claim after conducting an investigation.

The process of filing a protest is arduous, and can be compared to a lengthy legal process, in addition to the required protest fee of $10,000. Of course, the financial aspect seems like a drop in the bucket for the billionaire, but the amount of work needed to push through the measures may not be worth it, especially if the odds are historically against the protesting team. — Kelly Echo, Rockets staff writer

Required reading

(Jalen Brunson Photo: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

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