Did referees miss timeout call from 76ers’ Nick Nurse? Explaining controversial ending to Knicks’ Game 2 win

The Knicks channeled their inner Reggie Millers against the 76ers on Monday night at Madison Square Garden.

The ending to Game 2 of the Eastern Conference first-round series was one to remember. Donte DiVincenzo and Jalen Brunson sank two 3-pointers in the final seconds to pull off the stunning comeback victory on their home court, giving New York a 2-0 lead as the series heads to Philadelphia.

If the ending — eight points in 21 seconds — feels familiar to Knicks fans, it’s because New York has been on the opposite end of a similar last-minute barrage. During the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals, Miller scored eight points in 8.9 seconds to propel the Pacers to victory. 

This time around, the show-stopping finale in the Big Apple marked the latest victory in what has been an incredibly stellar season for the Knicks. After its best regular season finish since 2012-13, New York holds the No. 2 seed and is living up to that spot so far.

Yet while Knicks fans are ecstatic on one side, frustration oozes on the other side, with the officiating at the root of the issue — at least according to 76ers head coach Nick Nurse.

What did Nurse say about the ending to Game 2 of the Knicks-76ers series? Here is more on the potentially controversial ending at MSG.  

MORE: NBA Playoffs schedule: Dates, times, TV info for every game

Did referees miss timeout call from Nick Nurse?

Nurse did not hold back his thoughts on the officiating after the 76ers’ 104-101 loss in Game 2. The 76ers coach felt the the officials saw him calling for a timeout seconds before the DiVincenzo 3-pointer, but did not blow the whistle, he said in his postgame press conference.

“The first thing is obviously they score, we take a look at getting it in quick, we don’t get it in quick,” Nurse said, explaining the end of the game from his point of view. “I call timeout. Referee looked right at me, ignored me. [I] went in to Tyrese, I called timeout again. Then the melee started.

“I’m not going to say I’ve got to run out onto the floor, or do something to make sure to get his attention. [We] needed a timeout out there to advance it, would’ve been good. Couldn’t get it.”

In the video of the sequence, you can see Nurse seemingly putting his hands up to call a timeout. But you do not see the officials’ reaction to the call, and play continued until New York took the lead. 

“I just watched the film, just to make sure,” Nurse said. “I’m clearly calling timeout. I didn’t see if he could see me in the film, but I could clearly see me calling timeout twice.”

The 76ers are planning to file a grievance to the league office over the officiating in both of the series’ first two games, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. The Knicks took a 111-104 win in the Game 1 contest after a strong fourth-quarter effort.

Philadelphia may ask for a review, but history is not on its side. There have been multiple grievances filed this season from a number of teams, but none have been successful. 

It doesn’t matter for the 76ers locker room. Philadelphia star Joel Embiid elected to move on and forget the results of the first two games, knowing that the club is fully capable of making a comeback. 

“We should be 2-0,” Embiid said after the loss. “We’re good. We’re going to win this series.”

Knicks vs. 76ers schedule, scores, results

Games 1, 2, 5 and 7 will be played in New York while Games 3, 4 and 6 will be played in Philadelphia.

The complete schedule for Knicks vs. 76ers is below.

Date Game/Result Time (ET) TV/Live stream
April 20 Knicks 111, 76ers 104 6 p.m. ESPN, Sling
April 22 Knicks 104, 76ers 101 7:30 p.m. TNT, Sling
April 25 Game 3 7:30 p.m. TNT, Sling
April 28 Game 4 1 p.m. ABC, Sling
April 30 Game 5* TBD TBD
May 2 Game 6* TBD TBD
May 4 Game 7* TBD TNT, Sling

*If necessary

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