The NBA hasn’t replayed part of a game in more than a decade, but the Rockets believe they have a strong case for one after Tuesday’s double-overtime loss in San Antonio, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
Houston was denied two important points when a dunk by James Harden was disallowed with 7:50 left in the game. The ball went through the hoop, but got caught in the net and popped out in front of the basket. After some initial confusion, officials ruled it no basket. The dunk would have increased the Rockets’ lead to 15 points.
Team sources told MacMahon after the game they are optimistic the league will review the situation and either award them the victory or demand a replay of the final 7:50 of regulation.
“When the play happened, Harden goes in for a dunk, and then the ball appears to us to pop back through the net,” crew chief James Capers explained to a pool reporter after the game. “When that happens, that is basket interference. To have a successful field goal, it must clear the net. We have since come in here and looked at the play. He dunked it so hard that the net carried it back over the rim a second time, so in fact it did clear the net and should have been a successful field goal.
“As to could the play have been reviewed, it is a reviewable matter, but you have a window of 30 seconds to challenge the play during that timeout that he had and while they were protesting the call, trying to get clarification of it, that window passed. So therefore, it elapsed, and they were not able to do it.”
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said confusion among the officials cost him a chance to challenge the play.
“I heard that they said the ball hit James and went back through, so it was a goaltend on James. I challenged that, and I didn’t get a response,” D’Antoni said. “Then another guy said it wasn’t a goaltend; it went out of bounds on us. And I said, ‘Well, I challenge that.’ Can’t do that.”
The Rockets may file a formal protest, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, but are waiting to see if the league takes action first.
The last time the NBA ordered that part of a game be replayed came in 2008, according to MacMahon. The Hawks defeated the Heat in overtime, but the official scorer mistakenly determined that Miami center Shaquille O’Neal fouled out with 51.9 seconds to go, so that portion of the game was replayed when the teams met again.
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