The Rockets are “likely to file an official protest over missed call on James Harden’s dunk”, according to Tim MacMahon. When Steven A. calls it “the greatest non-story in his career”, and Bill Simmons, Daryl Morey’s friend, says the Rockets “are the most despised franchise within NBA circles.”, you know they went too far.
What happened? With over 7 minutes to go in the 4th quarter, James Harden dunked the ball, it got a weird spin from the net and the referee thought the ball popped back up through the net. By NBA rules, that doesn’t count as a basket. The ref was wrong and admitted so immediately after the game, upon reviewing the film.
The Rockets claim that if that basket counted, the game would never have gone into overtime therefore they should be awarded the win. It’s like they are intentionally trying to be the most annoying team in NBA history. By everyone’s reaction, the Rockets are succeeding.
Let’s get the technicalities out of the way. Is there a precedent for this? Yes, there is, the NBA repeated games on several occasions. Every time they did it, it was absurd. Does this case qualify? No, it does not. In order to make such a request, a rule has to be misapplied. This was just a blown call, so it doesn’t qualify for such a request.
Why didn’t the refs review the call on the spot? I gotta admit, I love this part. A coach can challenge a call within 30 seconds of the play/call they are challenging. The Rockets started to complain and whine so much, they burned their 30 seconds so when Mike D’Antoni requested a challenge it was too late. Karma.
The fact is, the Rockets blew a 22 point lead, and the game went into double overtime. They had the final possessions in both overtimes to win the game, and they failed. James Harden scored 50 and Westbrook had a triple-double, so you’d think they have reason to be frustrated. They should’ve won the game!
Well, Harden scored 50 points on 11-38. How did he get to 50 when shooting an abysmal 28.9% from the field? He went 24-24 from the free-throw line. Here’s a moment that describes how everyone feels about that.
Let’s not forget the most westbrookian triple-double ever. Westbrook went 7-30 from the field for 19 points. Yep, he shot 23.3% from the field. Combined, Harden and Westbrook shot 18-68, that’s 26% from the field. But yeah, let’s talk about one blown call by the ref.
It is fascinating how distorted their perception of reality is. No-one flops and fishes for calls more than Harden, they get a lot of absurd calls and still they complain about a single call when their two stars shoot 26%. It’s like they want everyone to hate them.