Knicks reportedly filing protest with league after controversial foul call, loss to Rockets

The Knicks fell to the Rockets 105-103 on Monday after Jalen Brunson was called for a foul in the final seconds

The New York Knicks are reportedly protesting their loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday night after officials and the league admitted that a late foul call was incorrect.

The Knicks, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, filed a protest with the league on Tuesday following their 105-103 loss to the Rockets. The league will have five days to respond after the Knicks provide evidence of the protested action, which they have to do within five days of the game.

The Knicks and Rockets aren’t scheduled to play again this season. If the Knicks’ protest is successful, the two teams would then in theory meet for a single overtime period to complete the game. There have been only six successful protests in league history. The last time was in 2007.

Rockets guard Aaron Holiday, with the game tied, threw up a one-handed desperation shot at the buzzer on Monday night at the Toyota Center. As he did so, Knicks star Jalen Brunson came charging at him to contest the shot, which he appeared to do cleanly. Holiday’s shot was off the mark, but officials called a foul on Brunson despite it appearing that he made minimal contact with Holiday, if any. That sent Holiday to the free-throw line, where he hit two shots to give the Rockets the win.

That foul call left Brunson and Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau completely stunned.

“That’s a tough way to lose a game … If you look at the film, you see it,” Thibodeau said. “It is what it is.”

After the game, once he had a chance to see the replay of the final sequence, crew chief Ed Malloy said that he didn’t think there should have been a foul called.

"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."

But because the game had ended, and the Knicks didn't have a challenge available to them, the Rockets walked away with the win.

Brunson scored 27 points and had seven assists in the loss to lead the Knicks, who have now lost three straight and four of their past five games. They hold a 33-21 record with one game left before the All-Star break.

Dillon Brooks led the Rockets with 23 points, and Jabari Smith Jr. added 20. Their win, which brought the Rockets to 24-29 on the season, snapped a four-game losing streak.

While Malloy admitted he thought the call was wrong, it’s unclear if the league will feel the same way and give the teams a rare chance to finish the game.