NEW YORK -- New York Knicks guard Courtney Lee said Washington assistant coach Sidney Lowe was on the court and shouting as if he was a defender near him, impacting his decision not to shoot a potential game-tying 3-pointer in the frantic final seconds Thursday night against the Wizards.
Replays show Lowe on the court between the Wizards' bench and the 3-point arc near Lee, who hesitates to shoot an open 3-pointer after catching a pass from Carmelo Anthony.
A Washington defender then closes in on him and Lee drives and passes the ball away in the final seconds. The Knicks ended up not being able to get off a final shot as Washington held on for a 113-110 victory at Madison Square Garden.
"I thought it was one of their players because I was getting ready to shoot and in my peripheral you see a body right there and he is saying, 'I am right here! I am right here! I got your stunt!'" Lee explained. "Usually in basketball terminology, that is a switch or I am going to jump out, so I shot-faked and drove. I still should have shot the shot."
Lowe is seen temporarily standing on the court between an official and Lee near the 3-point line. Lowe then drifts back behind the sideline back near the bench when Lee has the ball.
"So I don't shoot it, I drop the ball thinking it is going to be a double closeout and I try to make a play to Brandon [Jennings] and I think he bobbled the ball a little bit and that is the end of the game. Come to find out it was the assistant coach, not a player."
Lee added: "I don't know if it was part of the defensive scheme for a coach to be out there and saying that and being on the floor standing next to me, but it happens. We lost. I should have shot it."
Knicks center Kyle O'Quinn was asked if Lowe violated an unwritten rule.
"Oh yeah, most definitely," O'Quinn said. "At any level, you can't do that. You look at the screenshots and it looks like he's getting closer and closer to the paint almost. But it happens, things didn't go our way. But I'm sure the NBA will talk to him and do what's right."
Anthony said he has never seen anything like what happened at the end as the Knicks furiously erased a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to take a one-point lead in the final minute before losing for the 12th time in the past 15 games.
"I saw it live," Anthony said when asked if he saw the replays of Lowe near Lee. "He was on the court. They have six players on the court. I mean, I saw Courtney open, and to be quite honest with you, I was talking to Courtney after the game and he believed that, he thought it was [Washington's] Kelly [Oubre] or somebody closing out to him. He said that was the reason why he didn't feel comfortable taking that shot. Then once you see it after, once he saw it after, they got some clarity on who it was."
Anthony added: "I've never seen it before ... I've never seen that before, especially not in a situation like that. Close game, half-court offense, we're trying to make something happen. I've never seen anything like that."
Lee hopes the NBA investigates the final play. The guard, who is a 41.9 percent 3-point shooter this season, said he "definitely" had space to take the shot if he hadn't thought a Wizard defender was near him.
"He fooled me," Lee said of Lowe. "I still should have should have took the shot ... I've never seen that in my whole career.
"I think it's something they [the NBA] need to take a look at ... Being a basketball player you play off of instincts, and if you hear somebody right there, that's why I try to make the right play. But I still should have shot it."