The NBA announced on Wednesday that the New York Knicks' protest of their controversial loss to the Houston Rockets on Feb. 12 has been denied. New York lost 105-103 after a foul was incorrectly called on All-Star point guard Jalen Brunson with 0.3 seconds remaining. 

"Under the standard for NBA game protests, New York was required to demonstrate that there was a misapplication of the official playing rules, as opposed to an error in judgment by the game officials," the league stated in a press release. "Because the foul at issue reflected an error in judgement, New York did not demonstrate a misapplication of the playing rules, and the extraordinary remedy of upholding a game protest was not warranted." 

With time winding down in the fourth quarter of the Feb. 12 contest, Jalen Green went to the basket and had his shot blocked by Precious Achiuwa. The loose ball was picked up by Aaron Holiday, who launched a prayer to try and beat the buzzer. His attempt did not go down, but the referees whistled Brunson for a foul, which a review showed occurred with 0.3 seconds left on the clock. 

Holiday went on to sink two free throws, and the Rockets escaped with a 105-103 victory. 

After the game, official Ed Malloy told pool reporter Fred Katz of The Athletic that the foul call was a mistake. "After seeing it during postgame review, the offensive player was able to return to a normal playing position on the floor," Malloy said. "The contact which occurred after the release of the ball therefore is incidental and marginal to the shot attempt and should not have been called."

In the wake of that admission, the Knicks filed a protest with the NBA to dispute the loss. Teams have 48 hours to do so, and are rarely successful in their efforts. 

The last protest to lead to a replay came all the way back during the 2007-08 season. The game was between the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks, and Shaquille O'Neal was called for committing his sixth foul with 51.9 seconds left in overtime. However, Miami's protest proved that he had actually committed only five fouls. The two teams replayed the end of the game months later, and by then, O'Neal was no longer even part of the team. 

The call that cost the Knicks the game on Monday was controversial on several levels besides the fact that it was merely incorrect. Rarely do we see whistles on such desperation heaves as the clock expires, but you could also argue that Holiday initiates the contact by sticking out his arm. Nonetheless, the foul was called and the Rockets won. 

"It was a great call," Brunson sarcastically grumbled after the game. "Next question."

Nobody enjoys seeing officials decide a close game like, but at the same time, it was a somewhat reckless closeout by Brunson. New York's All-Star point guard makes his money offensively in part because of his remarkable body control, yet on this play, he was far too aggressive in attempting to contest what was a very low-percentage shot. He gave the officials a chance to make the rare call and they ultimately made it.