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Referee admits a missed foul as 'livid' Pistons lose

A season's worth of frustration seemed to pour out of Pistons coach Monty Williams on Monday, after Detroit dropped a 113-111 decision to the Knicks in a game that included an obvious missed foul call on New York's Donte DiVincenzo with 8.5 seconds l

  • Feb 27 2024
  • 202
Referee admits a missed foul as 'livid' Pistons lose
Referee admits a missed foul as 'livid' Pistons lose

NEW YORK -- After the New York Knicks escaped with a 113-111 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night -- in large part because of an obvious missed call with 8.5 seconds left when Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo plowed into Pistons forward Ausar Thompson -- Pistons coach Monty Williams delivered a tirade over what he deemed a season's worth of mistreatment from the officials.

"The absolute worst call of the season," Williams said a few minutes after the game, arriving in the media room before any reporters could get there and not answering any questions outside of his statement about the game's final sequence. "No call, and enough's enough. We've done it the right way. We've called the league. We've sent in clips. We're sick of hearing the same stuff over and over again.

"We had a chance to win the game, and a guy dove into Ausur's legs and there was a no-call. That's an abomination. You cannot miss that in an NBA game. Period. And I'm tired of talking about it. I'm tired of my guys asking, 'What more can we do, Coach?' That situation is Exhibit A to what we've been dealing with all season long, and enough's enough.

"You cannot dive into a guy's legs in a big-time game like that and there be a no-call. It's ridiculous, and we're tired of it. We just want a fair game called. Period. And I've got nothing else to say. We want a fair game, and that was not fair."

Referee James Williams -- the crew chief on the night -- was standing right on top of the play, which occurred during a frenetic closing sequence, and admitted in a pool report after the game that it should have been called a foul.

"Upon postgame review, we determined that Thompson gets to the ball first, and then was deprived of the opportunity to gain possession of the ball," James Williams said. "Therefore, a loose ball foul should have been whistled on New York's Donte DiVincenzo."

But it wasn't, and as a result, the Pistons (8-49) found themselves on the short end of a heart-breaking call for a second straight game, after believing a travel should have been called on Paolo Banchero's winning bucket in Saturday's loss to Orlando.

"I'd say livid," Cade Cunningham, who had a sensational game with 32 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists and 2 blocks in 36 minutes, said afterward. "That's the word of the day: livid."

Monday night's chaos began with the ball in Knicks All-Star guard Jalen Brunson's hands with 30 seconds to go, and New York trailing 111-110. After Brunson missed a 3-pointer over the outstretched arm of Cade Cunningham, the rebound got tipped out to the corner by Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein, where Pistons guard Quentin Grimes grabbed it and tossed it to forward Simone Fontecchio.

Josh Hart then came in and knocked the ball away from Fontecchio, on the first play that looked like it could be a foul -- though Williams, in a pool report, would later say it was a correct call -- and allowing it to be scooped up by Hartenstein, who kicked it out to DiVincenzo at the top of the key.

At this point, there was about 10 seconds remaining, and DiVincenzo tried to fling a pass to Brunson on the right wing but, instead, threw it right to Thompson. But then, as Thompson tried to go up the sideline, DiVincenzo came flying over and collided with him, sending Thompson, DiVincenzo and the ball spilling onto the court.

"I went for the ball," DiVincenzo said later, when asked for his view on what happened. "I didn't look at the play. You turn the ball over, the ball is in front of you, and you go after the ball. Like I said, I respect everyone's opinion. I can't speak on it until I look at the film."

Thompson, meanwhile, said he "definitely" was expecting a call on the play, but it never came.

"I was very confused when I was on the ground and the play kept going, I'm not going to lie," he said. "But, I mean, that's how it goes."

James Williams was standing right on top of the play but didn't blow his whistle, allowing Brunson to scoop up the ball and fire a pass to Hart, who laid the ball in, plus drew a foul on Pistons center Jalen Duren, to put the Knicks ahead for good.

Adding insult to injury for Detroit was the fact that this game was actually originally scheduled to be played in Detroit -- only for it to be moved to New York because the Knicks lost a home game by advancing to and then falling in the quarterfinals of the in-season tournament.

The Knicks, meanwhile, were feeling slightly differently about things on this night than they were when referee Jacyn Goble admitted having his own missed call in the closing seconds of a loss in Houston two weeks earlier.

"I've been a part of some crazy stuff that's happened playing basketball," Hart said. "So, whether there's basketball gods or not, you know what I mean, crazy things happen in an 82-game season."


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