The officiating crew working Tuesday night’s game between the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs made a crucial error that may have impacted the final result, and the Rockets believe the NBA is going to take some sort of action to remedy the situation.
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reports that the Rockets are hopeful the NBA will either award the victory to Houston or order that the two teams replay the final 7:50 of the game at a later date. The Spurs came away with a 135-133 victory in overtime, but the Rockets should have had two more points after a Harden dunk in the fourth quarter was mistakenly waved off.
James Capers, the crew chief working the game, told a pool reporter the officials incorrectly thought Harden’s dunk went through the hoop and back out through the net, which would be basket interference. However, replays showed that the ball came back over the rim after clearing through the net. Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni was baffled about why he was not able to challenge the call.
Mike D'Antoni explains James Harden's bizzare dunk sequence pic.twitter.com/IP21USUxBm
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) December 4, 2019
Capers explained that the play was reviewable, but all challenges have to happen during a 30-second window in a stoppage of play. He said that window passed as the Rockets were trying to protest the call and figure out what had happened.
The Rockets believe the NBA could award them the victory, since they would have been leading after regulation if Harden’s dunk counted. Sources told MacMahon that giving them the win seems unlikely.
There is, however, precedent for a portion of the game to be replayed. Back in March of 2008, the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks replayed the final 51.9 seconds of a game after an official scorer incorrectly ruled that Shaquille O’Neal had fouled out with that much time remaining four months prior. The Hawks won 117-111 the first time and still won 114-111 after the 51.9 seconds were replayed.
Between responding to a heckler during a free throw and the dunk that should have counted, Harden had a rough night. Those two points clearly should have been awarded to the Rockets, so it would not be a surprise if the NBA has the two teams replay a portion of the game later in the season.
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