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Officials admit they blew Jalen Brunson call that cost Knicks game against Rockets

Jalen Brunson repeated the same answer to reporters' questions about his pivotal last-second foul -- a call the officials later admitted was wrong.

"It was a great call," he said, seemingly not wanting to get fined. "Next question."

After the game, crew chief Ed Malloy told a pool reporter that it "should not have been called."

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

The call happened after a wild sequence at the end of the game.

New York (33-21), which overcame a deficit of 16 points, tied the Rockets at 103 apiece on Brunson's step-back jumper over Dillon Brooks with eight seconds left.

On the ensuing Houston possession, Precious Achiuwa blocked Jalen Green's game-winning attempt along the baseline. Aaron Holiday recovered Achiuwa's block well behind the arc and, with one hand, heaved a prayer.

Brunson contested the shot and, on the closeout, the incorrectly called foul that led to three free throws for Holiday was made. The call on the floor stood after an official-initiated review that determined it happened before the buzzer, and Holiday sank the first two attempts with 0.3 seconds left to stun New York.

"The thing with the officials -- this is the way I feel about that in general," said Tom Thibodeau, whose team shot 12 free throws while Houston had 33. "I don't really care how tight the game is called. You can call it tight or you call it loose. I would just like the consistency to be the same.

"And they have a job. They have to control and manage the  was game. That's the No. 1 responsibility. So they have to use their judgment, and I have respect for that. So it didn't go our way tonight."

The end result gives the Knicks a three-game skid entering Wednesday's 7 p.m. game at the 29-24 Orlando Magic.

"I didn't play well for the majority of the game," said the tight-lipped Brunson, who scored a game-high 27 points on 10-of-25 shooting. "Obviously, we tied it and then Precious made a good defensive play and then they made a good call."