NEW YORK – The Knicks’ Julius Randle and coach Tom Thibodeau walked off the Barclays Center court Tuesday night talking to each other and “angry” at the umpiring during their 112-110 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
Randle had 24 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, but he went to the line only twice throughout the game. The Knicks star forward initially declined to talk about umpiring until asked if he was surprised he wasn’t getting the benefit of calls generally reserved for a team’s star.
“I have to ask them,” Randle said of the umpire team of Scott Foster, Mark Lindsay and Jason Goldenberg. “I don’t know what they’re seeing. As aggressive as I played, attacking the paint, I can’t be penalized for being stronger than I play. And that’s an answer I got today.”
Randle said the team informed him that his height and strength are the reason he doesn’t get more calls.
“They said because certain contact doesn’t affect me like it affects other players,” Randle said. “Since I’m stronger, they don’t make the calls.”
“It makes me even angrier,” Randle said when asked what his reaction is when he hears that. “To be honest with you, because that’s not how you officiate the game.”
While Randle was calm when speaking to reporters after the game, Thibodeau was visibly upset and frustrated. The Knicks coach mentioned how the Nets went to the free throw line 25 times compared to the Knicks’ 12 trips.
But what really angered Thibodeau was how Randle was refereed.
“I want to see the video but … something is not right,” Thibodeau said. “I dont know [por qué]. I do not know. I am observing what is happening both ways. [Los Nets] they are a good team. They played well. But I know Julius is handling the ball pretty hard.
“And I’m upset.”
Randle was charged with a technical foul with 1:36 remaining in the quarter after thinking he was fouled on a missed shot with the game tied at 105 overall. Kevin Durant (27 points) hit an 18-foot shot after that and then sank the technical free throw that the coach called on Randle.
Knicks teammates reached out to calm Randle during a timeout.
“You saw what happened,” Randle said when asked about the technical foul. “Everyone saw what happened. I don’t need to talk about it. Everyone saw what happened.”
Randle said several times that he did not want the focus to be on the referees. But he did describe what it’s like for him at a time when smaller defenders try to protect him.
“In basketball, usually when the smaller players are protecting the big ones, they get away with a lot more,” Randle said. “But certain things are a bit more cheeky. If you slap a guy, I don’t care who he is, it will affect him. Like I said, I don’t want to talk about them. I want to focus on keeping blocking that, playing hard, playing hard, and leading my team. I can’t let my techniques affect effectiveness, whether we win or lose. “
The Knicks tied the game at 110 with 17.7 seconds left, but James Johnson was fouled in a series with 2.2 seconds remaining. Johnson made both free throws to help the Nets hold on after blowing a 16-point lead.
James Harden led the Nets with 34 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists while making 9 of 10 shots from the free throw line.
“I want to take a look at the movie, but … there is a big discrepancy in free throws, I can tell you that,” Thibodeau said. “So Julius is driving the ball and has two free throws?
“I don’t really care what the game is called. I really don’t care. You can call it tight. You can call it loose. But it has to be the same.”