NEW YORK — The Knicks’ Julius Randle and coach Tom Thibodeau walked off the Barclays Center floor on Tuesday night talking to each other and “pissed” at the officiating during their 112-110 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
Randle had 24 points, nine rebounds and eight assists but went to the line only twice the entire game. The Knicks’ star forward initially did not want to talk about the officiating until he was asked whether he was surprised he isn’t getting the benefit of calls usually reserved for a team’s star.
“Got to ask them,” Randle said of the officiating crew of Scott Foster, Mark Lindsay and Jason Goldenberg. “I don’t know what they’re watching or what they’re seeing. As aggressive as I played, attacking the paint, I can’t be penalized for just being stronger than people. And that is an answer that I got today.”
The 6-foot-8, 250-pound Randle said the crew told him that his stature and strength are why he isn’t getting more calls.
“They said because certain contact doesn’t affect me like it affects other players,” Randle said. “Because I am stronger, they miss the calls.”
“It pisses me off even more,” Randle said when asked what his reaction is when he hears that. “To be honest with you, because that is not how you officiate the game.”
While Randle was calm when he spoke with reporters after the game, Thibodeau was as visibly upset and frustrated as he has been. The Knicks’ coach cited how the Nets went to the free-throw line 25 times compared to the Knicks’ 12 trips.
But what really set Thibodeau off was how Randle was officiated.
“I want to watch the film but … something’s not right,” Thibodeau said. “I don’t know [why]. I don’t know. I am watching what is going on both ways. [The Nets] are a good team. They played well. But I know Julius is driving that ball pretty darn hard.
“And I’m pissed.”
Randle was assessed a technical foul with 1:36 remaining in the fourth after he thought he was fouled on a missed shot with the game tied at 105-all. Kevin Durant (27 points) hit an 18-footer after that and then sank the technical free throw off the tech called on Randle.
Knicks teammates walked over to calm Randle down during a timeout.
“You saw what happened,” Randle said when asked about the technical foul. “Everybody saw what happened. Ain’t no need for me to talk on it. You all saw what happened.”
Randle said several times he did not want the focus to be on the officiating. But he did describe what it is like for him at times when smaller defenders attempt to guard him.
“In basketball, usually when smaller players are guarding the bigger players, they get away with a lot more,” Randle said. “But certain things are a little more blatant. If you slap a guy, I don’t care who it is, it’s going to affect him. Like I said, I don’t want to talk about them. I want to focus on continuing to block that out, play hard, play with energy and lead my team. I can’t let my techs affect being effective whether we win or lose.”
The Knicks tied the game at 110-all with 17.7 seconds left but James Johnson was fouled on a drive with 2.2 seconds remaining. Johnson hit 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 film but … there is a big discrepancy in free throws, I can tell you that,” Thibodeau said. “So Julius is driving the ball, and he gets two free throws?
“I don’t really care about how the game is called. I really don’t. You can call it tight. You can call it loose. But it’s got to be the same.”