Even 30 minutes into the game, Julius Randle was stunned.
Fourteen travel and transport calls were made The Knicks beat the Cavaliers 92-81 on Sunday nightmost in an NBA game this season.
“I’ve never seen that in my life,” the Knicks forward said.
When officials said it was part of the league’s new emphasis to call plays tougher by law, Randle understood.
“Oh, they did,” he said. “They definitely did.”
“It’s a lot of trips, a lot of trips,” said an amazed Jalen Brunson.
The 14 trips and carries were the most in a game in 25 years, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Since this is a game-by-game statistic, this type of data is not available in the entire history of the NBA, and Elias could not go back.
Brunson was surprised by some of the calls, but told officials they were doing their best under this new leadership. Trips and calls have been up recently across the league. Games that would not normally be whistled on Sunday were suspended for the change of ownership. The basic actions that the players were used to were fouls. The Knicks were called for six traveling violations in Saturday’s bad loss to the Mavericks.
Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau was whistled for a technical foul in the fourth quarter for arguing a travel call.
“Look, I’m all for following the rules, me. I thought we had a good crew. And they’re being told to call it a certain way,” Thibodeau said. “So I think I know what the intent is. I think that’s good. But it can’t be – you can’t choose. I would like to see compliance with this. If I see consistency, I have no complaints.”
Randle felt the calls helped the Knicks, even though they were whistled for eight fouls compared to six for the Cavaliers. Randle called that the biggest difference between Saturday’s 21-point loss to the Mavericks and Sunday’s impressive win. The Knicks held Cleveland to a season-low on 8-for-35 shooting from 3-point range. He smiled when asked what it would take for the Knicks to maintain that defensive record.
“Hopefully we can oblige [our opponent] go on more trips,” Randle said.