Maybe these games are fixed after all.
A day after fans — and President Biden — joked that the Super Bowl was scripted and fixed, the Knicks lost to the Houston Rockets on Monday night when refs called a foul on a desperation 40-foot heave at the buzzer in a tie game.
Fans and bettors immediately cried, “Fix!” and accused the refs of being involved in gambling.
Tim Donaghy, the disgraced NBA ref who was caught in a gambling scandal in 2007, starting trending after the game. After being caught in a FBI investigation, Donaghy admitted betting on games in his final four seasons as an NBA official.
Here’s what happened:
With the score tied and eight seconds remaining, Knicks’ Precious Achiuwa blocked a short shot by Jalen Green. Rockets’ Aaron Holiday grabbed the rejected ball beyond the arc and shot it as Knicks’ Jalen Brunson rushed out at him.
The hurried, off-balance shot never had a chance of going in, but ref Jacyn Goble whistled a foul with less than a second remaining.
Holiday made the first two free throws before missing the third intentionally to run out the clock, and the Rockets prevailed, 105-103.
Crew chef Ed Molloy told reporters after the game that the foul shouldn’t have been called.
“After seeing it during postgame review, the offensive player was able to return to a normal playing position on the floor,” Molloy said. “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.”
After the game, Achiuwa tweeted, “Nasty work.”
Former NBA star and ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins tweeted: “The officials just messed up a good ass basketball game. That was a BS call on Brunson at the end of the Knicks and Rockets game.”
Standup comic Sam Morril, a Knicks fan, tweeted: “I hope I’m not overreacting when I say the refs who just cost the Knicks that game should not only be fired from the NBA, I want them out of the country.”
“Jalen Brunson and the Knicks were absolutely robbed on this call … this better go all the way up to Adam Silver one of the worst blatant calls I’ve ever seen,” MSG sports betting host Alex Monaco tweeted.
Tweeted WFAN host Evan Roberts: “Knicks got hosed badly.”
Actor Ben Stiller asked the NBA: “How are you going to deal with the Houston Knicks awful call?”
There were, of course, dozens of gambling accusations:
— “Check referee Jacyn Goble’s FanDuel account,” one tweeter told the NBA.
— “You just watched a FIXED game ... If you didn’t see it go back and watch how the game was called and that’s nothing against the Rockets, who could’ve still won the game on OT … this is on the Refs … huge issue and GAMBLING!!!!!” tweeted Incarcerated Bob, a gambler and popular sports tout on social media.”
Tweeted ESPN talk show host Gordon Damer: “The fact that Tim Donaghy is trending tells you all you need to know about the Knicks game.”
When asked after the game what he thought of the officiating, Knicks coach Thom Thibodeaux, who left the court cursing and screaming at officials, sarcastically said, “It was great. Great.”
He added: “The thing with the officials — this is how I feel that in general — is that I don’t really care how tight the game is called. You can call it tight or you can call it loose, I just would like consistency to be the same. They have a job. They have to control and manage the game. That’s their No. 1 responsibility, so they have to use their judgment and I have respect for that.”
Brunson, trying to keep his paycheck, told reporters, “It was a great call. Next question.”
Thank you for relying on us to provide the journalism you can trust. Please consider supporting us with a subscription.