The Rockets claim veteran officials "exhibit the most bias against" their players.

By Khadrice Rollins
April 29, 2019

The Rockets put together a memo that highlighted 81 potential missed calls from Game 7 of the 2018 Western Conference Finals and said in the memo addressed to NBA league operations president Byron Spruell that "referees likely changed the eventual NBA champion," according to Zach Lowe and Rachel Nichols of ESPN.com.

Sam Amick of The Athletic was the first to report the Rockets researched the way their games are called against the Warriors after their 104-100 loss in Game 1 of the second-round series.

The team never sent the league the memo, but there was an in-person conversation with league officials to discuss the contents of the memo, ESPN reports. The Rockets determined the officiating cost them 18.6 points in the winner-take-all contest they lost in Houston.

The points lost on the potential missed calls were determined based on free throw averages to decide how many points a team could have expected when it didn't get a trip to the foul line. They accounted for points the Warriors also missed out on in addition to their own lost opportunities.

The type of play that had the most negative impact for the Rockets were plays concerning a shooter's landing space, particularly on James Harden three-point attempts. Those same types of plays that were the focus following the Game 1 loss, and led to Harden saying he wants, "a fair chance," from the referees. However, the league noted one particular play involving Draymond Green in the final seconds was called correctly and should not have been a foul even though there was contact.

Houston's memo regarding last season also mentioned veteran officials, "exhibit the most bias against our players." The team suggested playoff assignments be determined by call accuracy and level of experience should be disregarded.

"The reason we are in this situation is the efforts made to improve the referees have been too slow, not extensive enough, and have been held back by entrenched referees who are resisting reform," the memo says.

Game 2 of the second-round series between the Rockets and Warriors is Tuesday.

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