Rockets Want Game Replayed After “Missed” James Harden Dunk Not Counted

Houston is petitioning the NBA to act after losing 135-133 in double-overtime

Rockets Want Game Replayed After "Missed" James Harden Dunk Not Counted
James Harden of the Houston Rockets drives from the top of the key. (Bob Levey/Getty)
By Evan Bleier / December 4, 2019 10:08 am

James Harden had a big game against the Spurs Tuesday night, scoring 50 points against the Texas rivals. But it was two he didn’t score that loomed largest.

Harden appeared to have a breakaway dunk with 7:50 remaining would have given the Rockets a 104-89 lead in a ballgame they ended up losing 135-133 in double-overtime. However, even though the ball went through the hoop, referees ruled it didn’t count when the ball popped out after getting wrapped up in the net.

Had the refs counted the dunk, the Rockets would theoretically have won the game in regulation by two points. With that being the case, Houston is “hopeful” the NBA will either award the victory the Rockets or order for the final 7:50 of the game to be replayed at a later date.

Optimistic as Houston might be, league sources “scoffed” at the notion that the Rockets would be awarded the win, according to ESPN.

Following the game, referee crew chief James Capers admitted that it was a blown call and said the Rockets could have challenged it had they done so in time.

“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, the window passed so therefore it elapsed and they were not able to do it,” Capers said.

Though there’s no way to know if the NBA will award the win to the Rockets or replay the final portion of the game, it is not unprecedented for the league to make teams replay the final part of a game.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, the league had the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks replay a game in March 2008 after the official scorer incorrectly ruled Miami’s Shaquille O’Neal had fouled out with 51.9 seconds left in the game.

This is just the latest example of Houston taking issue with the NBA about the state of refereeing within the league.

During the playoff’s last year, the Rockets began building a “data-driven case” that the Warriors have been favored by NBA referees for some time and were not being called for “landing spot” fouls during 3-point attempts by the Rockets.

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