Thursday, May 23, 2024

NBA Playoff Chaos: Officials Blow Crucial Kick-Ball Decision in Knicks’ Edgy Victory (g)

HomeSports NewsNBA Playoff Chaos: Officials Blow Crucial Kick-Ball Decision in Knicks' Edgy Victory...

The New York Knicks snatched a wild 121-117 win over the Indiana Pacers in Game 1, but the outrageous officiating nearly stole the show at Madison Square Garden Monday night.

With the score knotted at 115-115 under a minute left, a bizarre sequence of events tipped the scales in the Knicks’ favor. Jalen Brunson coughed up the rock dribbling past half-court, with the ball pinging off Aaron Nesmith’s paw into teammate Andrew Nembhard’s mitts – seeming to signal an Indiana turnover.

But in a real head-scratcher, the zebras whistled Nesmith for a kicked ball violation, letting New York maintain possession. Nesmith understandably voiced his dismay over the phantom call.

Just a dozen ticks later, Donte DiVincenzo stuck a dagger trey to put the Knicks up 118-115, sending the Garden faithful into delirium.

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Yet the officiating clown show was just getting started for the snakebit Pacers. Down 118-117 with under 20 on the clock, Indiana had the rock with a prime chance to snatch the lead. As Tyrese Haliburton weaved his dribble towards the tin, Myles Turner set a legal screen on DiVincenzo.

But the refs called another egregious violation – whistling Turner for a moving pick after DiVincenzo pulled off an Oscar-worthy flop to the hardwood. Seasoned analyst Stan Van Gundy went postal on the airwaves, irate over the ticky-tack foul.

“That is shocking…never see that call at this point…great acting job…Indiana’s gonna challenge. I do not think that they’ll win,” Van Gundy fumed.

The Oracle’s take proved prophetic – the Pacers fruitlessly challenged as the Knicks regained possession still ahead by one. New York ultimately closed out the 121-117 circus at the charity stripe.

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Post-game, officiating crew chief Zach Zarba copped to the fact they botched the critical kicked ball call, admitting video confirmed it deflected off Nesmith’s hand legally.

Unfortunately, the kicked ball blunder wasn’t reviewable in that heated moment, leaving the Pacers with no recourse to get the potentially game-changing call overturned properly.

The wacky officiating travesty drew the ire of Joel Embiid, whose 76ers were recently ousted by these same Knicks after dealing with their own officiating dramas at MSG.

For his part, Pacers coach Rick Carlisle took the high road, steeping: “I don’t want to talk about the officiating. We’re not expecting to get calls in here.”

All eyes now turn to the league’s highly-anticipated Last Two Minute Report, which will doubtlessly scrutinize and grade the litany of poor calls down the stretch that possibly decided this playoff opener’s outcome.

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While the resilient Knicks battled for the gritty win to knot the series, the officiating circus wholly overshadowed their efforts on this zany night. As the NBA’s officiating judgment draws increasing flak and backlash, particularly in high-stakes games, the latest bungling will only intensify cries for more consistency from the league’s whistleblowers.

In today’s hyper-analytical basketball landscape, every call and non-call gets dissected to the nines on replay and by pundits. So when the officiating carps the main narrative in a playoff showdown, the zebras can expect no shortage of scrutiny and skeptics questioning their competence at this elite level.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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