Official admits mistake on controversial Jalen Brunson foul that led to Rockets win over Knicks
The New York Knicks nearly overcame the odds in Monday’s loss to the Houston Rockets. They climbed up to 16 points. They were playing without starters Mitchell Robinson, Julius Randle and OG Anunoby as well as key reserve Isaiah Hartenstein, and were on the road against a Rockets team that is 19-9 at home. But despite all that, the Knicks came fractions of a second away from sending Houston to overtime. Instead, the game shifted on one of the most controversial calls of the season.
The Rockets have possession in the final seconds. Jalen Green tries to win it with a layup as the clock ticks past the three-second mark. Precious Achiuwa sends it away, and it looks like we’re going overtime. That is, until Aaron Holiday comes up with a possession and throws up a prayer. Fortunately for Houston, Jalen Brunson closed hard on the snap and was called for fouling. Replay review confirmed the foul came before the clock hit zero.
Holiday went on to sink two free throws, and the Rockets escaped with a 105-103 victory. And yet, after the game, official Ed Malloy told pool reporter Fred Katz of The Athletic that the foul call was a mistake. “After seeing it during postgame review, the offensive player was able to return to a normal playing position on the floor,” Malloy said. “Therefore the contact that occurred after the ball was released is incidental and remote to the shot attempt and should not have been called.”
The call itself was controversial on several levels. Rarely do we see whistles of such desperation when the clock runs out, but you could also argue that Holiday starts the call by sticking out his arm . Regardless, the foul was called and the Rockets won. “It was a good call,” Brunson complained after the game. “Next question.”
No one likes to see officials decide a close game like that, but at the same time, it was a pretty reckless shutout by Brunson. New York’s All-Star point guard makes his money offensively in part because of his incredible body control, but on this play, he was far too aggressive in trying to counter. shot that was a very low percentage. It gave the officials a chance to make the rare call and they eventually did.