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Breaking down the crazy ending to the Spurs - Rockets game

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Determining if one blown call really caused the Rockets to lose and make the outcome worthy of a protest.

NBA: Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

As was reported yesterday, the Rockets are expected file a protest with the league over the outcome of Tuesday’s game against the Spurs, during which Houston lost in double-overtime after giving up a 22-point lead. (They have 48 hours from the end of the game to make it official, so the clock is ticking.)

The reason for the protest is a James Harden dunk that clearly went through the hoop before inexplicably wrapping back around the rim with 7:50 left in the fourth quarter. None of the refs saw the ball go in, and Mike D’Antoni reportedly took too long to use his coach’s challenge for a video review. (Side note: this coach’s challenge rule is not going over very well.)

If the protest is successful, the league has two options: count the basket and either add the points to the final score at the end of regulation and give the Rockets a 117-115 win (highly unlikely because of other mitigating circumstances), or replay the game from the 7:50 mark on a later date — April 12 being the most likely considering that is when the Rockets return to San Antonio.

It’s an unusual circumstance for the league in having to deal with points that should have counted but didn’t in what ended up being a tied game at the end of regulation (although is it any different than missed goaltends, which cannot be reviewed if they are not called?), and it’s hard to imagine they will approve of this protest because those aforementioned “mitigating circumstances”, several of which we’ve already covered.

Just about everyone outside of Houston agrees that the Rockets did themselves in by blowing a 22-point lead, including Coach Nick of BBALLBREAKDOWN as he goes over the insane ending to the game in his latest video. Along with some bonus Lonnie Walker IV analysis, he discusses why the Rockets lost and determines whether the refs did in fact cost them game . . . or if what they benefited from the officiating outweighed that one blown call that they will be using as the base of the protest (if it happens).