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Why the NBA’s decision regarding the Houston Rockets’ protest was wrong

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 05: Head Coach Mike D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets looks on during the second half of an NBA game against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on December 05, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 05: Head Coach Mike D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets looks on during the second half of an NBA game against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on December 05, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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NBA commissioner Adam Silver has quickly arrived at a decision regarding the Houston Rockets’ protest of their loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Here’s why the league got it wrong!

During the Houston Rockets‘ recent loss against the San Antonio Spurs, there was a controversial call made by the officials with 7:50 remaining in the final period. Rockets’ guard James Harden had a breakaway dunk on a fast break which was waived off by the officials, as the ball rimmed out of the net. Harden dunked the ball with so much force that it bounced out after going to the bottom of the net.

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni immediately tried using the league’s newly implemented coach’s challenge, but was unable to challenge the ruling. Although the Rockets ended up losing the game in double overtime by a score of 135-133, it was clear that the additional two points would have made a significant difference in the outcome of the game. At that in the game, the Rockets were winning 102-89, but were unable to rally back after the mishap made by the officiating crew.

The Rockets ultimately decided to protest the game, which was the right call considering the fact that there has been a precedent of team’s protesting and having the ruling go in their favor. The league arrived at a decision on Monday, as Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweeted out that the NBA had denied the Rockets’ protest.

Commissioner Adam Silver stated that the Rockets had enough time remaining in the game to rally back and defeat the Spurs, as there were nearly eight minutes left in the fourth quarter and two overtime periods in which the Rockets essentially could have won the game.

The irony here is that the game arguably wouldn’t have gone to overtime if the basket had counted. Sure, we don’t know how the final 7:50 of regulation would have gone if the basket had counted, but it’s also not safe to say the Rockets could have won the game in double-overtime either because the game quite possibly may not have even gone to overtime at all.

On top of that, the NBA decided to discipline the three officials who officiated the game, as it was determined that they misapplied the Coach’s Challenge, which is also interesting. If the NBA opted to reprimand the officials then obviously they determined that the officials altered and influenced the outcome of the game. So if that’s the case, why did they deny the protest?

If they conducted their own investigation and came to the conclusion that not only should the basket have counted but that the Rockets should have also been able to challenge the initial ruling on the court, then shouldn’t they have arrived at a different outcome? Because after all, didn’t they make this decision after reviewing the facts?

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Sure its understandable that it would have been less than ideal for the game to have been re-played, but it also has left a black eye on the league’s handling of team protests considering that they essentially agreed with the Houston Rockets but decided to deny the protest.

Hopefully these type of situations don’t continue to happen, but don’t hold your breath on the league making the right decision if this does in fact happen elsewhere in the league.

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