James Harden scored 50 points Tuesday night, but it was two he didn’t get that proved costly for the Houston Rockets.
Well … he actually did get the basket. He was just not awarded the points.
Harden picked off a pass and went streaking the other way for what looked to be an easy dunk in the fourth quarter of the game against the San Antonio Spurs. He threw it down, but the ball ricocheted strangely back up above the rim. It looked like he missed if you weren’t watching close but it did go through, as replays showed.
But the basket did not count as officials said it did not clear the cylinder — notable considering the Rockets went on to lose 135-133 in double overtime.
It was a blown call, crew chief James Capers admitted to a pool reporter postgame. But per Capers, the Rockets could have challenged the play.
“It is a reviewable matter, but you have a window of 30 seconds to challenge the play during that timeout that he had and while they were protesting the call, trying to get clarification of it, the window passed so therefore it elapsed and they were not able to do it,” Capers said.
Asked about the play postgame, Harden said simply: “The ball went in.”
Beyond the “no-good” dunk, it was a strange game for Harden and the Rockets. He hit the 50-point plateau for the second consecutive game but went just 11-for-38 from the field — a perfect 24-for-24 mark at the free-throw line doing the heavy lifting. The team at one point had a 22-point lead but blew that and had its fate ultimately sealed when Harden was called for a charge in the second overtime with just .8 seconds to go.
Contributing: Associated Press.