Harden dunked so hard the refs thought it wasn’t legit, then his Houston side went on to lose a thriller

Posted December 05, 2019 09:59:12

The Houston Rockets have lost a double-overtime thriller to the San Antonio Spurs, but the team is reportedly hoping the league will change it to a victory after the referees admitted blowing a call.

Key points:

  • The dunk would have given the Rockets a 104-89 lead, but San Antonio came back to win in double overtime
  • The head referee said the Rockets had a chance to challenging the call but used up their 30-second window protesting
  • The last time the NBA allowed part of a game to be replayed was in 2008

The play in question occurred on Wednesday (AEDT) with 7:50 left in regulation time, when the Rockets’ James Harden dunked so hard on a breakaway the ball appeared to not make it through the net.

The dunk would have given the Rockets a 104-89 lead. San Antonio came back to tie the game in regulation, before winning in double overtime.

Refereeing crew chief James Capers explained afterward why they disallowed the field goal.

“When the play happened, Harden goes in for a dunk, and then the ball appears to us to pop back through the net,” Capers said.

“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.”

Capers also said that while the Rockets were protesting, the 30-second window for requesting a challenge passed.

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni insists he did try to challenge it.

“They said that the ball hit James and went back through [the hoop], so it was goaltending on James, so I said, ‘I challenge that’,” D’Antoni told reporters.

“I didn’t get a response. Another guy said that it wasn’t goaltending, it just went out of bounds on us. I said, ‘Well, I challenge that.’ They go, ‘Can’t do that.’ I don’t know. I didn’t get an explanation. I got nothin’.”

ESPN’s Tim MacMahon said the Rockets were hopeful the league would either reverse the result or allow for the final 7:50 of regulation to be replayed.

According to ESPN, the last time the NBA allowed part of a game to be replayed was in 2008.

In that game, officials incorrectly ruled that Miami Heat centre Shaquille O’Neal had fouled out with 51.9 seconds remaining in an overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks. They replayed the final 51.9 seconds before their next game, though the Heat still lost.

On Wednesday, Harden poured in 50 points, making all 24 of his free throws, in the loss. He was also whistled for an offensive foul on a potential game-winning drive to the basket with 0.4 seconds left in regulation.


Topics: basketball, sport, united-states