Rockets' protest denied after missed dunk game; refs disciplined

The NBA announced Monday that it has denied the Houston Rockets' protest of their 135-133, double-overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs last week.

At issue was a James Harden breakaway dunk with 7:50 remaining that would have given the Rockets a 104-89 lead. The ball whipped through the net and back over the rim before bouncing off, and the officiating crew mistakenly ruled that Harden missed the dunk and denied Houston coach Mike D'Antoni's attempt to challenge the call.

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In its appeal, Houston had contested that Harden's dunk not being counted as a basket was a misapplication of rules resulting in an incorrect score and not a judgment call by officials.

In its ruling, the NBA agreed with the Rockets' contention that referees misapplied the rules. However, commissioner Adam Silver determined that the Rockets had sufficient time to overcome the error "during the remainder of the fourth quarter and two subsequent overtime periods and thus the extraordinary remedy of granting a game protest was not warranted."

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

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