NBA Crew Chief explains why James Harden’s controversial dunk did not count
It was indeed the Rockets’ fault for letting their guard down in the final canto, allowing the Gregg Popovich-mentored team to gain momentum and steal the victory from their fingertips. The exhilarating game, however, was marred with controversy when James Harden’s bizarre dunk in the fourth quarter was waived off by officials.
Replays showed Harden’s attempt got inside the hoop before spinning back out again and sailing out of bounds. Given the tight nature of the ball game, many believe that call could have had grand implications in the end game for Houston’s favor.
The league released an official statement on Twitter shortly after the match, which featured a conversation between NBA referee James Capers and pool reporter Mike Monroe from the Athletic.
Transcript: NBA Referee James Capers Comments to Pool Reporter after Rockets – Spurs game. pic.twitter.com/rVD6HF9Tca
— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) December 4, 2019
Capers, who made the call on the floor, admitted that upon checking the replays, Harden’s dunk should have counted since it did clear the net. The impact of the dunk caused it to go back over for a second time, but it should have been deemed a successful field goal.
He also made it clear that Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni failed to issue the Coach’s Challenge in the prescribed 30-second window, which made his protest ineligible.
James Harden finished with 50 points in a losing effort, but those additional two points could have certainly played a big factor in the final score of the match.