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‘Absolute worst call of the season’: Detroit Pistons left livid after controversial 113-111 loss against New York Knicks

By Sam Joseph, CNN

(CNN) — The New York Knicks escaped Madison Square Garden with a 113-111 victory over the lowly Detroit Pistons on Monday, but not without an abundance of controversy involving what the Pistons head coach called the “absolute worst call of the season.”

Josh Hart won the game for the Knicks with a layup with 2.8 seconds left on the clock. However, it appeared that New York guard Donte DiVincenzo had fouled Detroit’s Ausar Thompson earlier in the play, leading to outrage from the Pistons in a truly hectic ending to the game.

The two sides pushed hard in the fourth quarter, swapping the lead a handful of times before Quentin Grimes – playing his first game against the Knicks since the franchise traded him to Detroit earlier this month – gave the Pistons a 111-110 lead with 37 seconds to go.

Knicks All-Star Jalen Brunson brought the ball up the floor and missed a three-pointer on the next possession before chaos ensued.

Detroit secured the rebound and almost immediately turned the ball over to the Knicks. DiVincenzo then gained possession and almost cost New York the game by throwing the ball directly into the path of Thompson.

With the ball loose and the game on the line, both players went for the ball. DiVincenzo appeared to make significant contact with Thompson’s legs as he fought for possession, but the referees didn’t blow their whistle.

Brunson recovered the ball and found Hart inside the paint to give the Knicks the go-ahead bucket – plus a shooting foul, which was missed but rebounded by New York – as the home side stole the victory.

Pistons coach Monty Williams was incensed after the game and delivered a furious rant in the media room.

“The absolute worst call of the season,” Williams said in his very brief postgame press conference. “No call and enough’s 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.

“We had a chance to win the game, and a guy dove into Ausar [Thompson]’s legs and there was a no-call. That’s an abomination. You cannot miss that in an NBA game. Period. And I’m tired of talking about it.”

Williams asserted that his team just wanted a “fair game” before storming out of press conference after only a minute and did not face any questions from the media.

While Williams and the Pistons were infuriated by the no-call and result, they may be offered some bittersweet respite in knowing that they are justified in their anger.

Crew chief official James Williams acknowledged in the Pool Report after the game that the referees had made a mistake and that the ball should never had found its way back to Brunson.

“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,” he said when asked about the incident. “Therefore, a loose ball foul should have been whistled on New York’s Donte DiVincenzo.”

The New York squad, on the other hand, was less concerned with the game controversial ending.

“We won. This is the NBA, man. We don’t care how we win. We don’t care how ugly it is,” Hart said on-court after the final buzzer.

Brunson led the way for the fourth-seeded Knicks with 35 points while also dishing out 12 assists. Hart did it all for New York, posting 23 points, eight rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block as the Knicks improved to 35-23.

Cade Cunningham scored 32 for the Pistons as they fell to their sixth straight loss, leaving them wallowing at an NBA-worst 8-49 on the season. The rebuilding franchise remains anchored to the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

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