Why did a referee completely ignore Derek Fisher’s attempts to call a timeout?

On Tuesday night, a self-proclaimed “superfan” named Jeffrey Gamblero was ejected from Madison Square Garden for reportedly “obnoxiously” rooting for his beloved Brooklyn Nets to beat the New York Knicks. He also reportedly dared MSG security to eject him by taking his prosthetic leg off and placing it on his head, which is the only reason several news outlets are picking up on the story. Fans are ejected from NBA games all the time, nightly even, and the only reason this “story” is getting any traction is because this fan is slightly different than all the other louts who are tossed out.

The real story, as is usually the case, came on the court. Or slightly off of it, to be exact.

Late in the fourth quarter of the Nets/Knicks contest, New York had the ball and a chance to tie the game with the team down three. Derek Fisher, the Knicks’ rookie coach, ran down the sideline and even past the coach’s allotted standin’ box to signal for a timeout, as referee Mark Lindsay appeared to observe. Lindsay, weirdly, did not award New York with a timeout, and an unknowing Carmelo Anthony missed what could have been a game-winning three-pointer seconds afterward.


One can debate Fisher’s control over his own team, or the tactical gains to not calling a timeout all one wants. Debate away, one. What’s most damning here is the referee’s role in this. Why weren’t Fisher’s pleas listened to?

Fisher, via the New York Daily News, says Lindsay gave him no great satisfaction following the play:

“He said he didn’t see it,” Fisher said after speaking briefly with Lindsay. “I can’t tell what he did or didn’t see. I was signaling.”

It’s a new’ish rule, but coaches can call timeouts in this league, and it boggles the mind as to why Lindsay did not listen to Fisher as Carmelo drove. Just because Carmelo Anthony wasn’t on the same page as Fisher, and just because Fisher is the rookie coach of a terrible team, it doesn’t mean the referee gets to make a judgment call and ignore what should be an automatic whistle. Fisher tried to hit pause on the game, and everything should have frozen the second he yelled “timeout.”

Written by Nick Endress

Nick Endress

Nick the Quick Endress is an avid fan of basketball and hip hop, and a contributing writer with WJS since 2013. Nick has interviewed rappers, ballers, rapper ballers, and baller rappers on the site and continues to preach that the NBA should have a team in Europe. Maybe because Nick currently lives outside London where to them Football is actually played with your feet, can you believe this fatuousness?