A dunk by Houston Rockets’ James Harden that was denied by officials, may have been all the team needed to avoid losing to San Antonio Spurs 135-133.
The controversial incident happened in the 4th quarter as the Rockets were leading 102-89. The Rockets who were already losing a 22 point lead they had held over the Spurs delayed in calling for a video review of the play during the allowed 30 second window.
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It was only after the match was over that referee James Caper admitted that James Hardens dunk did in fact “clear the net”.
“We have looked at the play and Harden dunked it so hard that the net carried back over the rim a second time and should have been a successful field goal.” was the statement later released by the crew chief.
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni refused to accept the denied dunk as the reason behind his teams loss, instead coming out and blaming his team who he felt “quit playing defence” as they somehow managed to lose the 22 point lead they had over the Spurs.
The Rockets who went into the final 4 minutes of normal time with a 10 point lead over San Antonio Spurs later found themselves in the final minute of the second over time tied with their opponents.
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Harden was able put his side back in the lead after sinking 2 free throws giving them a 2 point advantage as the clock wound down.
Unfortunately were unable to put up a strong enough defence and not only lost their lead but also the game in the dying seconds. Harden ended the game on 50 points which was not enough to save his team from a 133-135 defeat to the Spurs.