Randle had 24 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, but only went to the line twice during the entire game. The Knicks star forward initially did not want to talk about refereeing until asked if he was surprised that he did not benefit from the calls usually reserved for a team star.
“I have to ask them,” Randle said of Scott Foster, Mark Lindsay and Jason Goldenberg’s team of officials. “I don’t know what they are looking at or what they are seeing. As aggressive as I have played, attacking the paint, I can’t be penalized for just being stronger than people. And that’s an answer I got today. “
The 6-foot-8, 250-pound Randle said the crew told him his stature and strength was the reason he wasn’t getting more calls.
“They said because some contact doesn’t affect me like it affects other players,” Randle said. “Because I’m stronger, they miss the calls. “
“It pisses me off even more,” Randle said when asked what his reaction was to hearing this. “To be honest with you, because that’s not how you run the game.”
While Randle was calm when he spoke to reporters after the game, Thibodeau was as visibly upset and frustrated as he was. The Knicks coach cited how the Nets have gone to the free throw line 25 times compared to the Knicks’ 12 trips.
But what really set Thibodeau on was the way Randle was refereed.
“I want to watch the movie but… something’s wrong,” Thibodeau said. ” I do not know [why]. I do not know. I’m looking at what’s going on both ways. [The Nets] are a good team. They played well. But I know Julius is driving this ball pretty hard.
“And I’m pissed off. “
Randle was given a technical foul with 1:36 remaining in the fourth after thinking he had been fouled on a missed shot with the game tied at 105-all. Kevin Durant (27 points) hit an 18-footer after that, then sank the technical free throw from the technician called Randle.
The Knicks teammates approached to calm Randle down during a time out.
“You saw what happened,” Randle said when asked about the technical foul. “Everyone saw what happened. I don’t need to talk about it. You all saw what happened. “
Randle has said on several occasions that he doesn’t want the emphasis on officiating. But he has described what it is for him when smaller defenders try to keep him.
“In basketball, usually when the smaller players protect the bigger players, they get away with it a lot more,” Randle said. “But some things are a little more glaring. If you slap a guy I don’t care who it is, it’s gonna affect him. Like I said, I don’t want to talk about it. I want to focus on continuing to block that, playing hard, playing energetically and leading my team. I can’t let my techs affect our efficiency, 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 left. Johnson managed both free throws to help the Nets hold on after losing 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’s a big gap in the free throws, I can tell you that,” said Thibodeau. “So Julius is heading the ball and he gets 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 cowardly. But it must be the same. ”