In the league's daily "Last Two Minute Report" -- its public review of officiating in the final two minutes of every NBA game -- the league says that Antetokoumpo committed a turnover on the final play when he dribbled with his back to the basket below the free throw line extended for more than five seconds.
Players are not permitted to dribble with their backs or sides to the basket for more than five seconds if they are below the free throw line extended.
Had referees whistled Antetokounmpo for the violation, the Knicks would have gained possession of the ball with two seconds to play and, presumably, sealed the win.
But the daily report also noted other potential violations prior to Antetokounmpo's game-winner that may have altered the outcome, including a defensive three-second violation by Carmelo Anthony with 4.8 seconds left. Had Anthony been whistled for the violation, Milwaukee would have had a chance to tie the game from the free throw line.
In its report, the league states that Antetokounmpo violated the five-second rule by dribbling the ball for 5.6 seconds, which it says would only be detectable by stopwatch. It labeled Anthony's 3-second violation as 'incidental or immaterial" as it was not directly related to the outcome of a possession.
Before Thursday's report was released, Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said that he thought Antetokounmpo may have committed a five-second violation on the play but that referees would never make that call on a sequence that decided the game.
Antetokounmpo's shot capped off of 14-point fourth-quarter comeback for Milwaukee. It was the Knicks' sixth straight loss and ninth in 11 games. They play the Bucks in Milwaukee on Friday night.