Tom Thibodeau takes blame for costly challenge gaffe

Tom Thibodeau’s first decision to challenge a foul call late in the fourth quarter was questionable, but his second was not even allowed — and it wound up costing the Knicks. 

The veteran coach admitted having a brain cramp as the Knicks fell to the Thunder 127-123 in overtime Monday night, calling another challenge when he didn’t have one left and instead burning his final timeout that he could have saved to draw up a potential game-winning play at the end of regulation. 

“That was my fault,” Thibodeau said. “I screwed that up.” 

Thibodeau used his second-to-last timeout with 1:07 left in the fourth quarter to challenge a foul called on Evan Fournier. The Knicks guard clearly made arm contact with Thunder rookie Josh Giddey while trying to go for a steal, so the review was unsuccessful. 

Tom Thibodeau reacts during the Knicks’ loss to the Thunder.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

On the Thunder’s next possession, Quentin Grimes was whistled for a shooting foul, which Thibodeau called a timeout to challenge again. But he did not have one to use, so the Knicks’ final timeout was wasted with 39 seconds left. 

Darius Bazley later tied the game at 112 with 5.5 seconds left, but the Knicks had no timeouts left to advance the ball and set up a play, leaving Julius Randle to muster a step-back jumper that didn’t fall. 

Thibodeau said he has someone on the bench to remind him of such things, but the safeguard didn’t work. 

“I just lost my train of thought there for a second,” Thibodeau said. 

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