Knicks’ Julius Randle restrained by teammates after controversial call in loss to Nets

An entertaining, down-to-the-wire contest Monday between New York rivals partially turned on a controversial call in the closing seconds and had one fuming All-Star being restrained by his teammates.

The Brooklyn Nets held on for a 117-112 win after New York Knicks forward Julius Randle was called for a travel with 3.2 seconds left. Trailing 115-112, Randle tried to attempt a 3-pointer with five seconds left. As he rose up, Nets defender Kyrie Irving got his hand on the ball, which caused Randle to juggle it without shooting. When Randle tried to dribble again on his way down, referee Scott Foster called a travel.

Randle pleaded his case with Foster in the immediate aftermath of the call, then had to be restrained from confronting Foster after the final buzzer.

Foster told the pool reporter that officials determined Irving did not dislodge the ball from Randle’s hands, and Randle dropped it himself, making it a travel when he picked it up.

“The defender was deemed to touch the ball but not cause it to be dislodged or loose,” Foster said. “Upon that, when the player alights, he cannot purposely drop the ball or dribble the ball or be first to touch after he dropped the ball.”.

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Randle did not comment on anything he said to Foster and chalked up the outburst to frustration.

“It was just frustrating,” Randle said. “Obviously, we fought so hard to come back and try to win the game. So I was just frustrated. And that was pretty much it. But we have another opportunity to go at it tomorrow. So just focus on that.”.

The call detracted from the Knicks’ rally to get back in the game. New York trailed by 18 late in the third quarter before mounting a comeback. Randle finished with a team-high 33 points.

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Clippers cause for concern?

The Los Angeles Clippers are considered a championship contender by most, but their recent struggles have begun prompting some questions about their consistency. They’re 5-7 over the last month after defeating the Dallas Mavericks 109-99 on Monday, and their late-game issues are well-known. Still, Marcus Morris Sr. Isn’t worried and had a message for any doubters: “Everybody can say what they want, can talk all the (expletive) they want. Come playoff time, I think we’ll be ready.”.

More bad luck for Bagley

Sacramento Kings forward Marvin Bagley III suffered another injury setback when he fractured his left hand Monday night. Bagley left late in the first half against the Charlotte Hornets, and an X-ray confirmed a fracture of the fourth metacarpal, the Kings said. The second pick in the 2018 draft was limited to 13 games last season by various injuries, including a broken thumb and sprained foot. He’ll undergo further evaluation Tuesday.

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McCollum back for Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers welcome star guard C.J. McCollum back Tuesday after he missed two months with a fractured left foot. McCollum started the season on fire, averaging a career-high 26.7 points in 13 games before he was hurt on Jan. 16. He’ll be back in the starting lineup against the New Orleans Pelicans, and the Blazers are so excited they released what might be the first-ever hype video for an injury return.

Game of the night: Jazz at Celtics

The league-leading Utah Jazz have cooled off a bit after their torrid 20-1 stretch in January and February. They’re just 4-5 since, but they still present a stiff challenge against a Boston Celtics team still finding consistency. The Celtics are also working Marcus Smart back into the lineup after he just returned from a calf injury.

Follow Matt Eppers on Twitter @meppers_.

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