Knicks-76ers Last Two-Minute Report: NBA admits to missed foul calls before New York’s game-winning basket

Officiating rarely costs NBA teams as much as fans would like to believe. But there’s a case to be made that a pair of crucial non-calls played a major hand in the 76ers’ Game 2 loss to the Knicks.

The Knicks forced a turnover on an inbounds play from the 76ers in the final 30 seconds of Monday’s first-round game with Philadelphia leading by two points. Tyrese Maxey struggled to grab the ball, and Josh Hart came up with it for New York.

Following a miss from Donte DiVincenzo, the Knicks recovered the offensive rebound and got it back to DiVincenzo, who this time buried the go-ahead 3-pointer.

That basket gave the Knicks a one-point lead. Two more made free throws after an intentional foul put New York up 104-101, the score by which it would win the game and take a 2-0 series lead.

Unlike in other pro sports, the NBA issues a Last Two-Minute Report, which recounts the officiating for the final moments of close contests the previous night. The report from Monday’s game paints a different picture of how the game could have ended.

MORE: Did referees miss timeout call from 76ers coach Nick Nurse?

Knicks-76ers Last Two-Minute Report

The key moment of the game occurred with 27 seconds remaining. Kyle Lowry attempted an in-bounds pass to Maxey, who appeared to be slowed up trying to get the ball.

There was no foul called at the time. But per the report card from the NBA, there should have been. The report states Brunson pulled Maxey’s jersey, which affected the ability of Maxey to secure the pass. 

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It didn’t take long for another incorrect non-call to come up. Maxey appeared to have the ball, but started to fall to the court. As he hit the floor, the ball came out and Hart recovered it.

The NBA’s report found Hart should have been called for stepping into Maxey’s space and initiating contact with Maxey’s lower body, causing him to fall to the floor.

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Had either foul been called, possession would have stayed with the 76ers, and the turnover off the in-bounds would not have happened.

There was much ado made over a timeout not being granted to Philadelphia coach Nick Nurse. The report does mention two attempts at a timeout from Nurse — one “neither recognized nor granted by the officials,” and one that occurred “simultaneous to Hart making contact with the ball” (and so after the 76ers lost possession.

From that point forward, the report agreed with every other call made by officials at the end of the game.

The 76ers did themselves no favors down the stretch. Maxey attempted a rushed layup with 7.1 seconds left after DiVincenzo’s 3-point attempt, and with the clock timing out, Joel Embiid attempted a 24-foot 3-pointer, a desperation heave for a career 34.1% 3-point shooter who averaged just 1.4 3-point makes per game in 2023-24.

Still, there’s little doubt missing those fouls at the end of Monday’s game made it more difficult for Philadelphia to win the game — and the series.

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