The NBA Denied The Knicks Game Protest, Saying An Incorrect Call Is Not A Misapplication Of The Rules

Just prior to the All-Star break, the New York Knicks lost to the Houston Rockets in dubious fashion after officials called a foul on Jalen Brunson on a last-second shot attempt by Aaron Holiday. After the game, in a pool report, the lead official confirmed there had been no contact and there was no foul, but with the Knicks unable to challenge the call, that was a moot point.

The Knicks then launched an official protest to the NBA, citing the incorrect call and referee’s admission of it being incorrect on what became the decisive points at the end of the game. Games under protest almost never get overturned by the league, but some wondered if this instance might end up going the Knicks way given how cut and dry the missed call was that directly led to the winning two points being scored.

Unfortunately for the Knicks, the league denied their protest, which wasn’t a huge surprise given the history of official protests in the NBA, but the wording of how they explained it raised some eyebrows for many.

Saying it was an error in judgement rather than a misapplication of the rules feels like an incredible bit of semantics, as you can certainly make the case that officials calling a foul when there was not one is, by definition, misapplying the rules of the game. At the same time, I understand why the NBA doesn’t allow protests to be upheld on missed foul calls, because that would open quite the can of worms (especially in this current landscape of the Last 2 Minute report). That said, this particular phrasing is just begging to be picked apart by fans, particularly those in New York.