It all came down to a slam dunk by James Harden that did not count on a Tuesday evening that Houston Rockets will rue over.
In the fourth quarter of the game between the Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs, Harden had an open basket, when he went for a powerful slam dunk. The dunk seemed to go in, but bounced back out off the net owing to the force behind the shot.
At that moment, the decision to not award a basket might not have felt as significant as it started to feel with the game going into Over Time.
Rockets eventually lost the game by two points in the second period of Over Time, and naturally, the focus shifted to an alternate reality where the dunk would have counted.
Talking about the decision after the match, referee James Capers admitted that it should have counted for two points.
“Alright, when the play happened (James) Harden goes for a dunk, and then the ball appears to pop back up through the net,” Capers told the reporters as per Tim MacMahon of ESPN. “When that happens, that is basket interference. To have a successful field goal it must clear the net. We have since come in here and looked at the play. He dunked it so hard that the net carried it back over the rim a second time, so in fact it did clear the net and should have been a successful field goal.”
“As to could the play have been reviewed. It is a viewable matter, but you have a window of 30 seconds to challenge the play during the timeout that he had and while they were protesting the call, trying to get clarification of it, that window passed. So therefore t elapsed and they were not able to do it,” he further said.
Although the decision went against the Rockets, it was something that was not in their hands. They would be more concerned about blowing away a 22-point lead rather than decision going against them.
As for James Harden, he increased his exceptional points tally in the season by another 50. He will, however, have to work on his accuracy in field goals with just 15 out the 48 attempts being converted. Almost half (24 points) of his 50 points came off the free throw line.