Houston has a problem with Harden dunk-that-wasn’t that team says cost them a win

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

The play in question occurred with 7:50 left in regulation, 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.

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,” said Capers. “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.”

WATCH | Harden dunk that should have counted leads to Rockets double OT loss:

The Houston Rockets are hoping the NBA decides to replay the end of their match against the San Antonio Spurs after referees mistakenly did not count a dunk by James Harden. The Rockets went on to lose 135-133 in double overtime. 0:41

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 says the Rockets are hopeful the league will 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 center 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 Tuesday, 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.

Read more at CBC.ca