Pistons coach Monty Williams on no-call late in controversial loss to Knicks: 'That's an abomination'



NEW YORK — With 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter on Monday, Detroit Pistons guard Ausar Thompson got his hands on a pass thrown by New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo. The Pistons were up by one point, and it seemed like he’d made the game-sealing steal. He didn’t quite secure the ball, though, and while it was loose, DiVincenzo dove for it, colliding with Thompson. No foul was called, and Jalen Brunson recovered the ball, which led to a layup by Josh Hart, which turned out to be the game-winning shot.

“The absolute worst call of the season,” Pistons coach Monty Williams said following the 113-111 loss. “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 the guy dove into Ausar’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. I’m tired of our guys asking me, ‘What more can we do, Coach?’ That situation is Exhibit A to what we’ve been dealing with all season long, and enough’s enough. You cannot dive into a guy’s legs in a big-time game like that and there be a no-call. It’s ridiculous, and we’re tired of it. We just want a fair game called. Period. And I got nothing else to say. We want a fair game, and that was not fair. I’m done.”

After his minute-long monologue, Williams stood up and left the interview room. Later, in an interview with a pool reporter, referee James Williams, the crew chief for the game, said that a loose ball foul should have been called:

QUESTION: Why was a foul not called when Donte DiVincenzo made contact with Ausar Thompson near halfcourt with approximately eight seconds to go in the game?

WILLIAMS: 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.  Therefore, a loose ball foul should have been whistled on New York’s Donte DiVincenzo.

QUESTION: So, if he hadn’t had possession of the ball, could a collision happen there? Would that have been a no foul then? If you had ruled that Thompson didn’t have control of the ball, would that have been a no foul?

WILLIAMS: If the ball is loose, players on both teams have equal opportunity to it.  It becomes a matter of who gets there first.

QUESTION: And then postgame, you reviewed it and determined that Thompson gets there first.

WILLIAMS: We determined that his left hand gets to the ball prior to DiVincenzo’s hand getting to it.

Thompson said he watched the play “a bunch of times” after the game and assumed no call was made because he didn’t have clear possession of the ball.

“I felt like I got the ball,” Thompson said. “I know they dove at my legs. I guess I didn’t have possession. But, you know, there were things we could have done to avoid being in that position. But next time I’m going to try to catch it and just grab it and hold it.”

With the loss, the Pistons are 8-49 on the season.

“Obviously you hate to lose like that,” Thompson said. “But it’s part of the game. They’re going to miss some calls.”

The visitors’ locker room at Madison Square Garden was quiet postgame. “That was a tough one right there,” Detroit guard Malachi Flynn said to no one in particular as he got dressed. Wing Simone Fontecchio watched the video of his coach’s press conference on his phone, and center Jalen Duren leaned over so he could see, too.

“I’d say livid,” guard Cade Cunningham said of the mood of the team. “That’s the word of the day: Livid.”

“Everybody in here was mad, as we should be,” wing Quentin Grimes added. “But it’s a learning game, for sure.”

For Grimes, it was only his second game in uniform as a Piston, following a deadline-day trade from New York. He said he told some of his new, younger teammates that the no-call was “a respect thing” and that you have to “earn respect in the league” by getting to the playoffs and winning some games.

“The last-second play, I think everybody on the team, everybody in the country thought Ausar got fouled, loose ball,” Grimes said. “The game goes a totally different way if he gets fouled and we get that call. But that’s just how it is. I kind of seen it, being with the team for I think about four or five games now. I mean, young team, it’s hard to get calls when you kind of got to get established.”

Grimes continued: “I saw it from directly in the view behind Ausar. I think he got fouled. Two guys ran into him and took his legs out. I guarantee you if [Brunson] and them was on the other side of that call, they’re getting that call.”

Williams “said about two words” to the team before going to talk to the media, Grimes said. Grimes added that, by “going off” the way he did in his press conference, it “says a lot. And it gives me an extra boost when I go out there to play, not only for my teammates but for my coach. He got my back as well.”

Asked about the no-call, Duren said, “You gonna give me the money that they’re going to fine me for if I speak on it?”

Two days earlier, Detroit lost a 112-109 nailbiter against the Orlando Magic on a last-second shot by Paolo Banchero. While Thompson said he was “definitely” expecting the whistle to blow when DiVincenzo dove into him and was obviously disappointed in the result, he called the team’s recent play “encouraging” and pointed to the Pistons’ next game — against Chicago on Tuesday — as an opportunity to get a win.

“I was very confused when I was on the ground and the play kept going,” Thompson said. “I’m not going to lie. But that’s how it goes.”





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