Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau Calls Out NBA Referees

Tom Thibodeau, Knicks
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

A common theme during recent post-game press conferences for New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau has been the officiating of NBA referees. Whenever he feels the need to, Thibodeau goes to bat for his guys.

He knows as well as anyone that not every call is going to be made during a game. But when he feels things are getting out of hand or his Knicks are on the short end of the stick, he is going to let someone hear about it.

Throughout the NBA Playoffs, Thibodeau has provided plenty of clips and comments that have caught the attention of the basketball world. Following Game 2 against the Philadelphia 76ers, when the NBA’s final two-minute report revealed several calls going in New York’s favor, Thibodeau countered by asking what the first 46 minutes looked like.

In Game 3, there was plenty for him to discuss after the game. The dirty plays of Joel Embiid were a major topic of discussion in the basketball world, as he committed several infractions that could have risen to flagrant status.

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Officiating was once again the main topic of discussion from Thibodeau. He made mention of Embiid, but it wasn’t for his flagrant acts. Instead, Thibodeau called out the NBA referees for how they define ‘marginal contact’ for his star, Jalen Brunson, compared to Embiid.

“[JB] ended up with 12 FTs. A lot of those came at the end…I’ll send my clips in like I do every game…They’ll say ‘marginal contact.’ Then we’ll have marginal contact on Embiid & he’ll be at the line 21 times. That’s the way it works,” Thibodeau said via New York Basketball on X.

The free throw discrepancy in Game 3 was just one of the underlying storylines involving the NBA referees. Officiating a game between two physical teams is never an easy thing to do, but they have done an overall poor job throughout the series handling things.

The debacle at the end of Game 2, evidently, was just the tip of the iceberg. It will be interesting to see if Thibodeau’s post-game pressers will result in a different whistle in Game 4 as the 76ers’ complaints were clearly heard ahead of Game 3.

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