"Marginal contact on Embiid, and he'll be at the line": Knicks HC Tom Thibodeau fumes at Jalen Brunson's whistle 

New York Knicks v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Three
New York Knicks v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Three

New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau called out the officiating by comparing how decisions changed for Philadelphia 76ers big Joel Embiid and Knicks guard Jalen Brunson.

Despite the questionable whistles, much to Thibodeau's chagrin, the Sixers won Game 3 125-114 on Thursday night but trail 2-1 in their first-round playoff series. Embiid's 50-point dominance gave the 76ers the win, as the Knicks, led by Brunson and Josh Hart, fell short.

In the aftermath of the loss, Thibodeau called out the referees for their calls, especially on Brunson.

"Tom Thibodeau on how Jalen Brunson was officiated tonight: I'll send my clips in like I do every game, and then they'll say 'marginal contact.' And then we'll have marginal contact on Embiid, and he'll be at the line 21 times."

Explore the NBA Draft 2024 with our free NBA Mock Draft Simulator & be the GM of your favorite NBA team.

The disparity that Thibodeau was referring to was clear, as Joel Embiid shot 19-21 from the charity stripe. Brunson made 10-12 of his free throws. The Sixers won the free-throw battle, as they had 84.8% compared to 68.4% for NY.

"I watch the whole game": Knicks HC Tom Thibodeau after controversial Game 2 vs Philadelphia 76ers

The first-round 2024 NBA playoffs between these two teams haven't been without drama.

Game 2 of the series saw Philly disadvantaged in two instances of the game. A 76ers spokesperson said that the team would file a complaint regarding the erratic decision-making.

On his part, Thibodeau said that he was not concerned about the league's last two-minute report and that he would focus on the entirety of the matchup.

"I'm more concerned with the 46-minute report. And I mean that. I knew they couldn't call a foul there. I'm watching the way Jalen's being guarded. ... I'm locked into Game 3. That's where we are. We don't get sidetracked with that stuff. I watch the whole game, not two minutes worth."

Jalen Brunson has been a force for the Knicks this season. He finished Game 1 with 22 points. Game 2 saw him record 24 points, and the graph continued upward, as he ended Game 3 with 39 points. With Julius Randle sidelined, the onus is on the guard to create offense for the Knicks and lead them on that front.

The two teams meet on Apr. 28 at 1 pm ET in Game 4 at the Wells Fargo Center. If Philadelphia wins again, expect the first round to go deeper than expected for the Knicks.

Quick Links

App download animated image Get the free App now