What will happen if Knicks win protest over incorrect foul call in Rockets loss?

The Knicks filed a protest to dispute Monday's loss to the Rockets.

New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau
New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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After a mind-boggling foul call on Jalen Brunson that gave Aaron Holiday three free throws with less than a second to play on Monday, the New York Knicks filed a protest. The call led to New York's third straight loss.

Shortly after the game, NBA crew chief Ed Malloy admitted that it was the wrong call (subscription required). Rather than whistle Brunson for the foul, the game should've gone into overtime with both teams tied at 103.

"After seeing it during a postgame review, the offensive player was able to return to a normal playing position on the floor,” Malloy said in the interview with a pool reporter. “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."

Ed Malloy, via The Athletic

It's been a long time since a protest was successful, as in 17 years when Heat center Shaquille O'Neal was ruled to have six fouls when he only had five. Miami and Atlanta met up a little less than three months (after Shaq had already been traded) to replay the final 51.9 seconds of overtime, in which neither team scored. The Hawks officially won 114-111.

What will happen if NBA upholds Knicks' protest over loss to Rockets?

Adam Silver will have the final say in the protest. New York wants to return to Houston for a five-minute overtime period, which is how the game should've ended.

The Knicks will be in Texas again on March 29 when they play in San Antonio. That same day, Houston will be in Utah but will return to Texas after to host Dallas on March 31. Technically, before returning to New York to host Oklahoma City on March 31, the Knicks could stop in Houston on March 30.

Do Knicks have a chance to win protest over loss to Rockets?

As a Knicks fan, you might assume that because Malloy admitted it was the wrong call, there's no chance the protest won't go in New York's favor. It is more complicated than that.

When a team files a protest, it has to be based on "an incorrect ruling or misapplication of the rules." A missed call falls outside that category. However, as The Athletic's Fred Katz pointed out, the Knicks could use the Rockets' successful challenge (subscription required) at the end of the first half as evidence.

"The Knicks could argue the play at the end of the game wasn’t much different than the DiVincenzo one. Watch the replay of Brunson fouling Holiday closely, and you can see Holiday slightly kicking out a leg. But the kickout on the fourth-quarter play was far more subtle than DiVincenzo’s. And even if the Knicks proved an inconsistency between those two plays, that may not necessarily count as a misapplication of the rules."

Fred Katz, The Athletic

That may not be enough for Silver, though. If the Knicks lose the protest, it'll cost them $10,000. When a team files a protest, they write a check to the league office that will be cashed in only if it is deemed unsuccessful.

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