Knicks Coach Calls Out Refs in Mic Drop Moment: ‘He’s Getting Fouled’

The New York Knicks’ top rival this season isn’t one of the league’s 29 other teams. It’s the NBA’s officials.

In the latest installment of this rivalry saga, head coach Tom Thibodeau called out the referees for their treatment of Jalen Brunson following a 109-99 loss to the Miami Heat.

He simply stated “He’s getting fouled,” but the coach repeated that statement seven times before leaving the podium postgame on April 2.

Tom Thibodeau on Jalen Brunson tonight vs. the Heat:

“It says 10 free throws, but he’s getting fouled. I hate to say it, it’s that simple. He’s getting fouled. He’s getting fouled. He’s getting fouled. He’s getting fouled. He’s getting fouled. He’s getting fouled.”

— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) April 3, 2024

Brunson finished the night with 10 free throw attempts but was five-of-18 from the floor in New York’s third-straight loss. It’s safe to say that Thibodeau felt a number of those 13 missed shots were due to fouls.

The loss to the Heat is just the latest of countless games where the Knicks felt they landed on the wrong side of the officiating–and rarely at the charity stripe. And the third in a row.

Did the Refs Spoil Brunson’s Career Night?

Just two games prior, going into a matchup against the San Antonio Spurs, New York was riding high.

After blowing out three sub-.500 teams consecutively, not even the absences of Julius Randle and OG Anunoby could keep them down.

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But then they lost in overtime to Victor Wembanyama and the lowly Spurs.

Brunson scored a career-high 61 points in the loss, kickstarting what has become a three-game losing streak for the Knicks.

A foul call on his last made basket would have given New York a chance to take the lead with 1:37 remaining.

Jalen Brunson banks in the floater, 61 points

— Knicks Highlights (@KnicksClipss) March 30, 2024

Brunson got up after making the basket and looked to the referees. No whistle.

Wembanyama converted a three-pointer on the next play to give San Antonio a four-point lead. They never looked back.

Brunson finished the night with just six free throw attempts, despite scoring 30 of his 61 in the paint. This is what started Thibodeau’s (most-)recent grudge with NBA officiating.

The Knicks head coach accused the referees of missing “simple” calls when speaking with Stefan Bondy of the New York Post, and other media postgame.

“A foul is a foul. That’s what I do know,” Thibodeau told reports. “And what I’m hearing [from the referees], I don’t really like. I don’t know what else you could do, what else you can say. It’s clear as day. It really is that simple.”

At the end of the day, the best thing New York could do was move on to the next game.

But then the referees took center stage in that game, too.

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Following their loss to the Spurs, the Knicks hosted the Oklahoma City Thunder for an Easter Sunday matinee.

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And while Brunson didn’t put up a career performance, he still sat at the center of the game’s discourse thanks to officiating. With just four seconds remaining, the point guard scored a layup for a 113-111 New York lead.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander followed up with a 15-foot fadeaway to put the Thunder up one with two seconds left.

If the foul had been called for Brunson, Gilgeous-Alexander’s jumper wouldn’t have been a game-winner.

It would have sent the Knicks to overtime for the second-straight game.

Should be overtime right now.

— Knicks Highlights (@KnicksClipss) April 1, 2024

Of course, he missed a game-winning jumper to win the game. That’s necessary context.

But in the long run, New York felt wronged, and their head coach once again fired off against the referees postgame.

It was a simple message to the reporters present, “Write what you see.”

Look for Thibodeau to be fined at some point. No one makes passing comments at the referees for three straight games without consequence. But there’s a discrepancy with Jalen Brunson’s whistle.

But until the New York Knicks can get past that, as well as the injuries to Anunoby and Randle, their going to continue to get the same results.

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