New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) blocks the shot of Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon (00) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in New York.
(AP Photo/Michael Owens)

As it turns out, the thrilling finish to the New York Knicks-Orlando Magic game featured two egregious blown calls by the referees.

Danny Small

NEW YORK, NY—The New York Knicks earned a stunning victory on Thursday complete with a fourth-quarter comeback and a controversial ending. Down two with the final seconds ticking away, Evan Fournier turned the ball over, dooming the Orlando Magic.

Magic head coach Steve Clifford was incensed at the referees, but it was unclear whether or not he wanted a foul call or a timeout. In fact, the refs missed both calls.

According to the NBA’s last two-minute report, Clifford should have been granted a timeout with 4.4 seconds left and Elfrid Payton should have been called for a foul on Fournier with 4.0 seconds remaining.

  • “The referee crew fails to recognize the verbal and visual signal of Coach Clifford (ORL) attempting to call a timeout prior to the turnover,” per L2M report.
  • “Payton (NYK) extends his leg and makes foot to foot contact with Fournier (ORL) that affects his SQBR (speed, quickness, balance, rhythm),” per L2M report.

Although the Magic might feel slighted after learning of these mistakes, there’s no crying over spilled milk. The final few seconds always feel more important in a close game, but Orlando had a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. They only have themselves to blame. For what it’s worth, center Nikola Vucevic owned the loss after the game.

“We didn’t do a good job executing like we should have in that moment but again we didn’t lose because of that last play,” Vucevic told reporters. “We lost because we had 22 turnovers, because we couldn’t get stops consistently throughout the game. Twenty-two turnovers against any team, especially on the road, is going to be very difficult.”

Missed calls are a part of life in the NBA. New York comes out on the winning end this time around. The Knicks are winners of three straight with a road-road, back-to-back against the Detroit Pistons (7 p.m. ET) and Atlanta Hawks (6 p.m. ET) on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

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