Report: Rockets Hope NBA Acts on James Harden Dunk Call

Michael Shapiro

The Rockets are "prepared to protest" their 135-133 overtime loss to the Spurs on Tuesday if the league does not take action, according to the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen. 

Houston would be protesting the loss following the missed call on James Harden's dunk in the fourth quarter. Harden appeared to convert a breakaway dunk to give the Rockets a 104-89 lead, but the basket was not counted after the ball went back through the net and over the rim. 

The Rockets won't have to file a protest on the game if the NBA decides to take action. Houston is "optimistic" the league office will either reward the Rockets the win or force the two teams to replay the final 7:50 of regulation, according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon. 

Houston has 48 hours from the end of Tuesday's game to file a protest if the league does not take action. 

Harden and Co. surrendered a 13-point lead after the blown call. The Rockets had opportunities to win the game on the final possession of overtime and double overtime, but Harden went 0–1 with one turnover in the OT-ending plays. 

Referee James Capers offered an explanation on the dunk call to the pool reporter postgame. 

"Harden goes in for a dunk, and then the ball appears to us to pop back up through the net. When that happens, that is basket interference. To have a successful field goal, it must clear the net," Capers said. "We have since … 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."

The NBA last replayed a portion of regulation in 2008. The Hawks and Heat played the final 51 seconds after the referees wrongly gave Shaquille O'Neal a sixth foul. O'Neal stayed in the game when it was replayed four months later as the Hawks held on for a win in the final 51 seconds. 

The Rockets protested a game in 2017 when Clippers guard Lou Williams was given a foul that should have been assigned to guard Juwan Evans. Houston later withdrew the protest. 

The Rockets fell to fifth in the Western Conference at 13–7 with Tuesday's loss barring a reversed ruling from the NBA. Houston will finish its two-game road trip on Thursday at Toronto. Tip-off from Scotiabank Arena is slated for 6:30 p.m. CT.