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NBA Denies Rockets Protest Request

James Harden's not-missed dunk will officially cost them a game.
James Harden's not-missed dunk will officially cost them a game.
Photo by Eric Sauseda

Dunk-gate 2019 is over. The NBA issued its ruling on the Rockets formal protest from James Harden's missed dunk in the fourth quarter of the game against San Antonio last week, in which the Rockets ultimately lost in double overtime. In a statement, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver denied the request saying the Rockets had ample time to make up for the mistake. As such, there will be no changing of the score or replay of the final eight minutes of the game as the Rockets had hoped.

In addition, the league announced it had disciplined the three officials for not conforming to replay rules. The Rockets were denied the ability to challenge the call because they went past the allotted 30 seconds, however, it took the officials much longer than that to clarify the call and give the Rockets the opportunity to make the challenge.

All in all, it's a black eye for the league and the sting of a loss that should have been a win for the Rockets. Make no mistake, the Rockets ultimately lost because of their porous defense, but in that moment, a dunk may have very well sunk a rally from the Spurs and propelled Houston to a win. As it turned out, because, in part, the play became a catalyst for the Spurs to win the game in overtime.

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Rockets fans expressed disappointment and dismay on social media, but it was a long shot that the league would give them more than half a quarter back to correct that one error. However, it is pretty galling that they would not announce the punishment received by the officials. The Association is more than happy to announce fines and suspensions when it comes to players, but discipline of officials remains hidden from view.

If there is to be any level of accountability and trust when it comes to NBA officials, it is time the league made it policy to disclose disciplinary measures in situations like these. At least the transparency will offer some acknowledgment to fans and teams that they are doing something to change course when egregious errors happen.

As for the Rockets, they'll have to move along and it's unlikely this one loss will be too much of a factor. They'll have a chance to avenge it a week from tonight when the Spurs visit Toyota Center.

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