- The Houston Rockets plan to protest their double-overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
- Referees incorrectly ruled off a made dunk from James Harden.
- If the NBA overturns the result, it would create a dangerous precedent.
The Houston Rockets are reportedly hoping the NBA overturns the San Antonio Spurs’ 135-133 double-overtime victory Tuesday. Referees mistakenly did not count a James Harden-made dunk in the fourth quarter.
According to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon,
[The Rockets] are hopeful the league office will either award the victory to Houston due to the Rockets outscoring the Spurs in regulation or order that the final 7 minutes, 50 seconds be replayed at a later date.
While the Rockets are rightfully miffed about the play in question, the NBA would open a Pandora’s box by awarding them a victory because of one blown call.
Early in the fourth quarter, Harden soared in for a breakaway dunk, which would have given the Rockets a 15-point lead. However, the net whipped the ball back up onto the rim, and it clanged off the side of the basket.
The refs really didn’t count this Harden dunk 🤔 pic.twitter.com/tkpFWpqu9f
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 4, 2019
After the game, crew chief James Capers explained to pool reporter Mike Monroe of The Athletic why Harden’s dunk didn’t count and whether it was a reviewable play.
The TL;DR version: The refs thought Harden’s dunk was basket interference at first glance and ruled it off accordingly. Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni had a 30-second window in which he could have challenged the call, but he was attempting to get clarification and didn’t do so in time.
However, D’Antoni presented a different perspective to reporters:
On Wednesday, MacMahon reported the Rockets will “likely file an official protest” regarding Harden’s dunk “to ensure that the NBA office will have to make a ruling.”
The Rockets’ frustration with the blown call is entirely…