The New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers had a great game last night that went into the OT and was a real thriller up until the last second. The 76ers won the game 101-100 behind Tobias Harris, who had 20 points, and most importantly, he made two crucial free-throws to close out the game 5 seconds before the end. Unfortunately, Julius Randle couldn’t make the last shot despite coming up big at the end of the fourth quarter when he made a three-pointer to tie the game and send it to overtime.
Later in OT, with a few seconds on the clock, the Knicks were on offense, and after missing a shot, Tobias Harris and Nerlens Noel were going up for a rebound when the ref called a foul on Noel. Tobias sank those free throws, and the game was pretty much over, even though Randle had a decent look at the basket in the last second. That was a somewhat controversial call by the refs because they were both going for a rebound and essentially fighting for position.
That moment caused a lot of frustration, and after the game, their head coach Tom Thibodeau with the rest of the coaching staff, was furious at the refs. Julius Randle was evidently disturbed and talked to the media about how the refs didn’t maintain the same standard for officiating throughout the game. They were allowing more physicality than usual, but on that last play, they completely changed their criteria and called a foul that wasn’t supposed to be called, especially in that specific situation.
The full Randle interview: “Blown call by the officials. Not enough contact for them to call the play. I don’t know who it was – Nerlens – but clearly he had possession. … (1/2)
— Steve Popper (@StevePopper) March 22, 2021
Blown call by the officials. Not enough contact for them to call the play. I don’t know who it was – Nerlens – but clearly, he had possession. After all the fouling and everything that was going on, for them to call that and decide the game is fucking ridiculous. They have to do a better job. It’s too many games like this.”Julius Randle, via Steve Popper
There is a high probability the NBA will fine Randle because of his criticism towards the referees, but that is the type of play that needs to be looked at with more diligence. If you are allowing players to be physical all game long, there is no point in changing the last play criteria in a situation where both teams are fighting for a rebound. There needs to be more consistency coming from the refs in these types of situations. The refs make mistakes too, which is completely reasonable, but the league obviously needs to step in and make some changes to how they continue officiating games, especially on plays like the one in this game.