The New York Knicks didn’t lose solely because of a missed call late in the fourth quarter. It’s tough to believe that the team lost by only five points after shooting 10-of-39 (25.6%) from three, especially considering the Bucks shot 20-of-39 (51.3%) from deep.
Jalen Brunson hit a three-pointer with 1:01 left to play in the game to give New York the 103-101 lead. Milwaukee called a full timeout, and once play resumed, Damian Lillard was his usual clutch self as he hit a three to sway the lead back to the Bucks, 104-103.
A rare missed shot by Brunson on the other end resulted in a Khris Middleton rebound, giving Milwaukee the ball back with 48.1 seconds remaining in the game. What happened next explains why New York fans are once again annoyed with NBA officials.
After Middleton crossed halfcourt, Brook Lopez set a moving screen on Hart, who was guarding Middleton. Hart got knocked over as Middleton passed the ball to Lillard, who left Quentin Grimes in the dust and was driving to the rim. Grimes “fouled” Lillard, who hit the layup for the and-1. The new Bucks guard hit the free throw to extend his team’s lead to four, 107-103.
Yes, Grimes was caught sleeping on defense (although he didn’t foul Lillard), but Lopez should’ve been whistled for the moving screen, which would’ve given New York the ball back down one point with 42 seconds left to play.
NBA officials miss blatant Brook Lopez moving screen late in Knicks-Bucks
Notice how referee James Williams was standing beside Brook Lopez when he set the moving screen on Josh Hart, but he still didn’t call it. Tyler Ford is the ref who called the mysterious foul on Quentin Grimes.
The Knicks have looked rough so far in 2023-24, but so have NBA officials. On New York’s opening night against Boston, Jalen Brunson was given a technical foul for flopping. However, in actuality, he landed on Jayson Tatum’s foot after the Celtics star didn’t give him enough room to land.
Who knows how Friday’s game would’ve ended if Williams had blown his whistle because of the moving screen. Based on how Brunson was playing, maybe the Knicks would’ve handed the Bucks their second straight loss.
New York has other issues it needs to focus on, such as Julius Randle’s disastrous start to the season. However, it’s still true that, just like the Knicks, NBA referees need to do better.