One game into the new season, and the referees already have admitted to missing a key call against the Knicks.
The NBA referees’ official X account posted a clarification that the officials mistakenly called a flopping technical foul against Knicks guard Jalen Brunson with 6:47 left in the fourth quarter of Wednesday night’s 108-104 season-opening loss to the Celtics at the Garden.
Brunson went down to the ground after a missed 3-point attempt, but he appeared to land on the foot of Celtics star Jayson Tatum, who converted the technical free throw.
“We missed the foot to foot contact which should have resulted in a personal foul [on Tatum] and reviewed for flagrant,” wrote @OfficialNBARefs in an X post. “Had no foot to foot contact existed, this type of secondary and theatrical movement by Brunson would meet the criteria for a non-unsportsmanlike technical foul for flopping.
‘”It is possible to have a foul and a flop on the same play, but the foot to foot contact is what causes Brunson’s movement and no flop should have been called.”
Former Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis also was called for a flop in the fourth quarter, something the league has instructed the refs to crack down on this season.
After Thursday’s practice in Tarrytown, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau didn’t take the referees to task for the admitted blown call.
“Nah, It does no good now, and those plays are tough,” said Thibodeau, who lost a challenge on a foul called against Immanuel Quickley earlier in the game. “Same thing with Quick’s call, it could go either way and they’re making those decisions in real time. It’s not not an easy job. So you just move on.”
Thibodeau added that he supports the league’s crackdown, saying “I think the intent is good. I’m in favor…I like the intention of what they’re trying to do. I think it’s good.”