Referee Admits To Wrong Call Ending Knicks/Rockets Game

Aaron Holiday, Jalen Brunson, Knicks, Rockets, NBA
Feb 12, 2024; Houston, Texas, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) fouls Houston Rockets guard Aaron Holiday (0) on a play in the final moments of the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the 2023-24 NBA regular season, there have been complaints about how referees are calling games. Players and fans alike have been left wanting explanations for how some games were officiated. On Monday, the game between the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets could be the worst officiated contest of the season.

Looking at the stats and based on the style of play by each team, some eyebrows will be raised. New York is a team that lives in the paint and they did so against Houston, a team that fouls a lot usually.

Despite having 58 points in the paint and recording more drives to the basket than the Rockets, the Knicks faced a massive free throw disparity. They attempted only 12 in the game while Houston attempted 33.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Jacyn Goble, Ed Molloy, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks Updates

New York did attempt 10 more 3-point attempts than Houston, but they took 12 more shots in the game. The Knicks were doing what they do best, getting to work on the offensive glass but weren’t being rewarded with any whistles.

It was a bizarrely officiated game that people will want some answers for. But, the most egregious call came on what ended up being the final play. With the game tied in the waning seconds, Jalen Green drove to the basket, where he was met by Precious Achiuwa.

Achiuwa blocked the shot and the ball bounced out beyond the 3-point line, where Aaron Holiday picked it up. With time running out, Holiday threw up a prayer from about 30 feet away. While his prayer of making a shot wasn’t answered, referee Jacyn Goble bailed him out.

Inexplicably, Goble called a foul on Jalen Brunson. Replay after replay was shown and nothing showed enough contact to warrant a foul call, especially at that point in the game. It was a physical contest that Goble interjected himself into, making an egregious call.

In a shocking turn of events, crew chief Ed Molloy admitted after the game that Goble got the call wrong. When talking to pool reporter Fred Katz of The Athletic, Molloy was asked about the final play of the game and by rule, Goble made the wrong call, costing the Knicks a chance to win the game in overtime.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Jacyn Goble, Ed Molloy, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks Updates

“After seeing it during postgame…the offensive player was able to return to a normal playing position on the floor. The contact which occurred after the release of the ball therefore is incidental & marginal to the shot attempt and should not have been called,” Molloy said.

A tied game being decided on a bogus call hurts. Molloy admitting the call was wrong is only rubbing salt in the wound as there is nothing that can be done about it now. A short-handed Knicks team fought right to the final whistle, overcoming a 16-point deficit only to have it ripped away.

Goble and referees who make incorrect calls such as that one need to be held accountable. With how tight the NBA playoff races are going to be, one call like that can change the entire landscape when it comes to matchups and seeding.

There is no guarantee that the Knicks would have won the game in overtime, as they were running on fumes. But, they weren’t even given a chance to win the game. The benefit of the whistle went Houston’s way all night with the final play being the cherry on top.

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