Detroit coach rips 'abomination' non-call as Pistons pipped

Agence France-Presse
Detroit coach rips 'abomination' non-call as Pistons pipped
Head coach Monty Williams of the Detroit Pistons reacts during the fourth quarter of their game against the New York Knicks at the Madison Square Garden on February 26, 2024 in New York City. The Knicks defeated the Detroit Pistons, 113-111.
Elsa / Getty Images / AFP

NEW YORK – Detroit coach Monty Williams slammed NBA refs for making the "worst call of the season" after the Pistons slumped to an agonizing last-gasp 113-111 defeat to the New York Knicks on Monday (Tuesday Manila time).

A thrilling clash at Madison Square Garden swung decisively in favor of the Knicks in the closing seconds, when officials failed to penalize New York's Donte DiVincenzo for a blatant foul on Pistons forward Ausar Thompson as the two tussled for a loose ball with Detroit leading 111-110.

The Knicks recovered possession in the chaos, allowing Jalen Brunson to move the ball to Josh Hart who drove in what turned out to be the winning layup before adding a free throw to seal victory.

NBA referee James Williams later admitted officials had blundered and should have called a foul on DiVincenzo.

"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," Williams told a pool reporter.

"Therefore a loose ball foul should have been whistled on New York's Donte DiVincenzo."

But the official's mea culpa was unlikely to placate Pistons coach Williams, who was incandescent at the officiating howler in his post-game press conference.

"We had a chance to win the game and the guy dove into (Thompson’s) legs and there was a no call," Williams fumed.

"That's an abomination. You cannot miss that in an NBA game. Period."

Williams said Detroit — which is at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with a league-worst 8-49 record — had raised officiating grievances with the NBA through formal channels earlier this season.

"The absolutely worst call of the season," Williams said. "Enough is 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.

"That situation is exhibit A to what we've been dealing with all season long...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 want a fair game and that was not fair."

Brunson led the scoring for New York with 35 points, and 12 assists, with Hart adding 23 points and DiVincenzo 21.

Shooting guard Cade Cunningham led Detroit's scorers with 32 points.

In other games on Monday, the Toronto Raptors upset the Indiana Pacers with a 130-122 win on the road in Indianapolis.

R.J. Barrett led the Toronto scoring with 24 points on a night when seven players finished in double figures for the visitors.

Gradey Dick produced a dazzling cameo from the bench with 18 points in just under 23 minutes, making 4-of-4 from three-point range and shooting 7-of-9 from the field.

Bennedict Mathurin led the scoring with 34 points for the Pacers, while Tyrese Haliburton was held to nine points.

Elsewhere, the Brooklyn Nets romped to a wire-to-wire 111-86 road win over the Memphis Grizzlies. The Nets led by 30 points at one stage after dominating the Grizzlies' shaky defense.

Dennis Schroder led Brooklyn with 18 points — one of seven Nets players to finish in double figures.

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