Rockets' protest of James Harden missed dunk denied

Ruben Hill
December 10, 2019

The Houston Rockets won't get a do-over after officials wrongly disallowed a slam dunk by James Harden in a double-overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs, even though the National Basketball Association has disciplined the officials who got the call wrong and botched the aftermath by not allowing Houston to challenge.

At issue was a James Harden breakaway dunk with 7:50 remaining that would have given the Rockets a 104-89 lead.

The game was tied after regulation, with the Rockets ultimately losing by two points in double overtime. Houston's argument was that the weird mistake was relevant to the final result, and thus worthy of a replay. However, league commissioner Adam Silver suggested there was too much time left in the game when the errors occurred to justify a replay. The NBA admitted the officiating crew didn't follow the proper procedure for a coach's challenge.

In the protest, the Rockets argued that the officials misapplied the playing rules by failing to grant a Coach's Challenge in connection with James Harden's fourth quarter dunk, and that this error had a clear impact on the outcome of the game by depriving the team of two points.

MORE: What can National Basketball Association coaches challenge during games?

The league did announce that it has disciplined all three referees from the game for misapplying the Coach's Challenge rule.

Since the Rockets called for a timeout, the challenge request should have been granted.

The Rockets challenged the call after a timeout, but officials ruled that Houston had exceeded the 30-second time limit for challenges.

As a follow-up to the NBA's investigation of this matter, the National Basketball Association will work with the Competition Committee to develop additional procedures to help prevent the situation with Harden's made basket from occurring again.

Late last week, the Rockets registered a formal protest with the league which was hoping for them to overturn the call and have the last eight minutes of the match replayed.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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