NBA denies Rockets' protest, disciplines officiating crew
Logan Riely / National Basketball Association / Getty

The NBA denied the Houston Rockets' protest regarding the misapplication of the coach's challenge rule in their double-overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Dec. 3, the league announced Monday.

The league agreed that the officials misapplied the rules, which led to a fourth-quarter dunk by James Harden not being counted in what was ultimately a 135-133 defeat for Houston. According to a statement, commissioner Adam Silver "determined that the Rockets had sufficient time to overcome the error during the remainder of the fourth quarter and two subsequent overtime periods and thus the extraordinary remedy of granting a game protest was not warranted."

The NBA has disciplined the three game officials - James Capers Jr., Kevin Scott, and John Butler.

With 7:50 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Rockets leading the Spurs by 13 points, Harden dunked with such force that the ball initially did not appear to go through the hoop.

Houston then called a timeout, and the officials wrongly determined the call on the floor was basket interference. They then informed Rockets bench boss Mike D'Antoni he could no longer use his coach's challenge to force a review of the sequence as more than 30 seconds had elapsed since the start of the timeout.

"But the 30-second time limit for coach's challenges only applies when the challenge arises during a mandatory timeout or a timeout called by the opposing team," the NBA clarified. "Because Houston called the timeout in this case, it was entitled to challenge the basket inference call upon being informed of it by the game officials."

In response to the blunder, the league announced it would work with the competition committee "to develop additional procedures" to prevent similar mistakes.

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NBA denies Rockets' protest, disciplines officiating crew
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