Sources have informed Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle that the Rockets intend to file a league protest with the NBA over referees’ controversial ruling on a James Harden dunk in an eventual 135-133 double overtime loss to the Spurs Tuesday.
Harden slammed home the jam with 7:50 left in regulation and Houston still up by 13 points, but game officials ruled that the basket did not count when it popped out in front of the basket upon getting caught in the net. Had Harden’s dunk been tallied, it would have boosted the Rockets’ advantage to a 15 points. When the dust had settled, the team would go on to blow a 22-point lead in San Antonio.
Additionally, sources tell ESPN’s Tim MacMahon that the Rockets hope to have the final 7:50 of regulation be replayed in the future, with Houston up 104-89 and the dunk being counted for two points. Houston does not anticipate an automatically-rewarded win.
Replaying game action is not wholly unprecedented, though it is exceedingly rare. Due to this, the Rockets’ request faces an uphill battle for acceptance. The final 51.8 seconds of a Hawks–Heat game were replayed in 2008 during a subsequent meeting between both teams. Two other partial game replays over reversed rulings transpired in 1982 and 1979.
Both the Rockets and Spurs have five days to provide necessary evidence in support of their claims. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver then has five days after receiving all evidence to make a ruling.