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Rockets’ memo to NBA office says referees ‘changed the NBA champion’ last season

Daryl Morey, James Harden, Chris Paul, Rockets

The Houston Rockets reportedly sent a memo to the league office, believing that officiating in Game 7 of the 2018 Western Conference Finals cost them an NBA championship, according to Zach Lowe and Rachel Nichols of ESPN.

The Rockets lost to the Warriors in Game 7 last season. Houston claims there were 81 total calls, non-calls and violations in that game:

“Referees likely changed the NBA champion,” says the memo, addressed to Byron Spruell, the NBA’s president of league operations. “There can no be no worse result for the NBA.”

The Rockets never actually sent the memo to Spruell because they ended up communicating its messages — including that they believe officiating cost them the 2018 title — during in-person meetings with league officials, according to multiple league sources.

The full report obtained by ESPN lists 81 total calls, non-calls and violations. It concludes that those 81 instances cost Houston a total of 18.6 points in that game.

The Rockets lost Game 7 by a final score of 101-92. The Warriors advanced to the NBA Finals and swept LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Rockets attempted 22 free throws in Game 7. The Warriors, meanwhile, took 14. Golden State was called for 22 personal fouls. The Rockets, though, believe the Dubs should have been called for more.