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#pounditWednesday, April 17, 2024

Tom Thibodeau has 3-word message for NBA after Knicks’ loss

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau looking on

Jan 2, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau reacts during the first half against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are fighting to avoid the play-in tournament, and Tom Thibodeau clearly felt the officiating crew stood in his team’s way during a loss to the Miami Heat on Tuesday night.

Jalen Brunson scored 20 points on just 5/18 shooting in New York’s 109-99 loss to Miami. The star point guard also turned the ball over 5 times. After the game, a reporter asked Thibodeau about the “uncharacteristic” performance from Brunson.

Thibodeau first spoke about how the Knicks can’t expect Brunson to be great every night. The coach then took aim at the officials by repeating the same three-word phrase over and over again.

“It says 10 free throws, but he’s getting fouled,” Thibodeau said. “I hate to say it. It’s that simple. He’s getting fouled. He’s getting fouled. He’s getting fouled. He’s getting fouled. He’s getting fouled. He’s getting fouled.”

Thibodeau probably was not only referring to Tuesday night’s game. Most felt Brunson was fouled on his go-ahead layup with a few seconds left in the Knicks’ loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday.

The layup gave New York a 112-111 lead just before Shai Gilgeous-Alexander hit a turnaround jumper at the other end of the floor to lift the Thunder to a victory.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst indicated this week that NBA officials feel Brunson is a “foul hunter” and are cracking down on the types of calls they give the 27-year-old.

“He doesn’t have the reputation of Harden or Trae Young, but he’s a foul hunter. … He uses the dark arts,” Windhorst said. “This is what the referees are cracking down on, the fouls that he gets sometimes are not what they’re going to give him.”

The loss for the Knicks on Tuesday was an important one. They are now 44-31 and are just 2 games ahead of the Heat for a regular playoff spot versus a play-in tournament berth. Thibodeau likely wanted to get on the NBA’s radar ahead of a crucial stretch run, but he may have earned himself a fine in the process.

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