NBA rumors: Rockets to file official protest

The Rockets prepared to file a protest of Tuesday’s loss to the Spurs, a person with knowledge of the team’s plans said, with an argument that will cite the James Harden dunk that did not count as an example of a “misapplication of rules.” It will also cite subsequent errors in officials’ failing to grant a coaches’ challenge, though the primary argument is with points not being awarded following a made basket.

More on Officiating Complaints

Welcome to the opening weeks of the NBA's coach's challenge. ESPN asked head coaches from almost half the league's 30 teams for their input on the challenge system. The views ranged from hostile to constructive, but there wasn't an endorsement to be found. But for all the frustration and bewilderment the new rule has created across the league, don't expect it to go the way of the NBA's synthetic basketball.
Houston had been optimistic in the wake of the loss that the NBA office would take action without a protest being necessary. However, sources said the Rockets are leaning toward filing a protest to ensure that the NBA office will have to make a ruling.
NBA rules require a protest to be filed within 48 hours after a game. Sources said the NBA office has started conducting an investigation that could take longer than the 48-hour window. The Rockets contend that they should either be awarded the win -- because they actually outscored the Spurs in regulation -- or that the final seven minutes, 50 seconds of the game be replayed at a later date. League sources, however, scoffed at the suggestion that the Rockets would be awarded the victory.
The Rockets have 48 hours after the game in which to file a protest and will wait for more feedback from the NBA before determining how they will proceed. On Tuesday, on the way to losing a 22-point lead, a dunk by James Harden was disallowed after the ball worked its way through the net and around the front of the rim and nearly in again. The subsequent loose ball was ruled to have gone off Harden. The Rockets still led by 13 with 7:50 to play and were up by 16 shortly after before allowing the Spurs to come back and tie the game and eventually win in overtime.
Albert Nahmad: Rockets have 48 hours (from end of game) to file an official written protest, which must state grounds and include a $10,000 protest fee (refunded if they prevail). Both teams will then need to submit any evidence within 5 days, after which Adam Silver will decide within 5 days.
The Rockets are weighing protesting the game, a person with knowledge of the team’s thinking said, but will wait to hear from the NBA if it rules without a protest. If a made basket was not credited, the Rockets could be given a two-point win in regulation or more likely have the remainder of the game replayed from that point on. In either case, winning a protest is extremely rare. “They said the ball hit James and went back through, so it was goaltending on James,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “So, I said, ‘I challenge that.’ Then, I didn’t get a response. Then, another guy said it wasn’t a goaltending. It went out of bounds on us, so I said, ‘I’ll challenge that.’ I didn’t get an explanation. I got nothing.
The Houston Rockets are optimistic the NBA office will take action after referees mistakenly did not count a James Harden dunk in Tuesday night's 135-133 double-overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs, sources told ESPN. The Rockets are hopeful the league office will either award the victory to Houston due to the Rockets outscoring the Spurs in regulation or order that the final 7 minutes, 50 seconds be replayed at a later date, sources said.
Harden's breakaway dunk with 7:50 remaining would have given the Rockets a 104-89 lead. The ball whipped through the net and back over the rim before bouncing off, and the officiating crew mistakenly ruled that Harden missed the dunk and denied Houston coach Mike D'Antoni's attempt to challenge the call. "When the play happened, Harden goes in for a dunk, and then the ball appears to us to pop back through the net," crew chief James Capers told a pool reporter. "When that happens, that is basket interference. To have a successful field goal, it must clear the net. We have since come in here and looked at the play. He dunked it so hard that the net carried it back over the rim a second time, so in fact it did clear the net and should have been a successful field goal.
According to ESPN Stats & Information research, the most recent example of teams replaying part of a game happened on March 8, 2008, between the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks. Four months earlier, the Hawks defeated the Heat 117-111 at home in overtime, but the official scorer incorrectly ruled that Miami's Shaquille O'Neal fouled out with 51.9 seconds left in the game. The league decided to have Miami and Atlanta replay the final 51.9 seconds before the teams' next scheduled game, and the Hawks ultimately won 114-111.
Officials reviewed the play and agreed that Williams was wrongly called for a blocking foul. What they didn’t acknowledge was the clear charge by Randle, ruling that there was no foul on the play. Randle wasn’t awarded a free throw, but his bucket still counted. This left Stevens flummoxed. Video showed Stevens pleading with referee Josh Tiven before giving up and appearing to say “I’m done with these f---ing challenges. This is unbelievable.”
Before digging into his Thanksgiving meal with family on Thursday, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach John Beilein looked back at the film from Wednesday’s loss against the Orlando Magic. Well, one specific area: The turnovers. Mainly, the seven travel calls against his team. “I have a call in with the league as well and we are going to talk about them,” Beilein said prior to Friday’s matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. "We are going to talk about where the travel is happening. You can see, if you slow it down several times, you can see there’s some. But we didn’t all of a sudden start traveling. It hasn’t been called and it was called. That’s what I think we have to figure out.”
On the one hand, the Lakers' 14-2 start to the season is the best that any of James' teams has ever achieved through 16 games, edging the 2016-17 Cleveland Cavaliers' 13-3 mark. On the other hand, James' 27 field goal attempts without attempting a single free throw was the most shots he's ever taken without earning a trip to the line, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information. "It's frustrating," said Lakers coach Frank Vogel. "LeBron's going to the basket all night long. He took nine 3s, but he's in the paint all night long. ... When your guy's attacking the basket the way he is and getting zero free throw attempts, it's something that can be frustrating."
Tom Orsborn: DeMar on not getting the call after Hood whacked him in the face: "Yeah, I'm frustrated. I still don't understand it. Clearly, I got hit in the face before anything else happened. I don't know. I guess I got to be dramatic or flail or something." #Spurs
DeRozan was still upset by the call after the game, stating Hood hit him in the face prior to any possible push off. "As soon as we say something out on the court, we get a tech," DeRozan said. "We're held responsible for things we say about the refs, but when refs cost us the game, I don't know what we get. An apology later on after it's reviewed?"
Tom Orsborn: More from a clearly frustrated DeRozan on the officiating: "I guess you got to go out there and flail and flop and sell it these days. That’s what a lot of players are doing, and they get the calls. But you try to be aggressive and physical, I guess that gets overlooked."
Tom Orsborn: Last word from DeRozan: "I’m not a good actor. I am just out there playing hard, and I expect the refs to make the right call. Like I said, I guess I need to take some acting classes." #Spurs
Josh Lewenberg: Once again, Nurse careful with his post-game words, but not impressed with the officiating. On Doncic: "He got all his points from the foul line. I thought he was treated very well tonight."
From Hield’s perspective, there’s not much you can do when playing the Lakers at Staples. It’s a familiar refrain for Kings fans still seething over Game 6 from 17 years ago. “One call changed the whole game,” Hield said. “It could have gone either way. It be like that sometimes, when the home team is favored all the time, especially in LA.”
Hield was a bit more unfiltered. He was asked about the lack of free throws by the Kings, and he put the burden on the officials. “The refs don’t call no fouls for us, yo,” Hield said. “I don’t know what to do.”
There won’t be outrage at the level of Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals against the Lakers, but there were plenty of angry Kings after a game in which they shot only nine free throws — two through three quarters. Still, the Kings had a chance in the final seconds before the game was “stolen.” “The game came down to one play,” Hield said. “Sometimes in that situation you’ve got to let the game play out. I don’t think it was a foul the other way. So ask (referee) Rodney (Mott) what he think.”
How he fell — or was tripped by James — depends on which locker room you were in, obviously. “I think we know what’s going on,” Barnes said. “But for us, it’s moving past this, getting better, and that’s all I’ll say about that.” Kings coach Luke Walton was much more diplomatic in discussing the final play. “We ran a play, we had a chance, we didn’t make it,” Walton said. “All we try to focus on as a team is what we can control and what we can control is execution, knocking down shots, making the extra pass.
Jason Jones: Bogi: "It’s always the referee’s decision to call or not call (a foul). Sometimes you get calls, sometimes not. Homecourt advantage maybe? Sometimes it goes like that, you know? But it’s over, we lost this game and we have to be locked in for Boston."
Jeff McDonald: DeRozan also said he was "highly surprised" at the game-sealing flagrant call: "Obviously I went for the ball, and made sure he didn’t get the ball up with the possible chance of an and-1. In my opinion, I thought it was a terrible call."
Several minutes earlier, Beverley expressed displeasure with the officiating. He was particularly perturbed about his sixth foul -- a call made when he bumped chests with Harden away from the ball and about 30 feet from the basket -- and a technical foul he received from the bench with 1:31 remaining. "I got a technical foul because I looked at the ref, I guess, too long, and I guess you can't look at people in this league now," Beverley said. "I don't know. I don't feel like that's fair. As a unit, we work too hard -- coaches work too hard, players work too hard, staff work too hard -- to prepare for each game, and to let a game come down to referees and free throws I don't think is fair. I think we deserved better, I think fans deserved better, and the people who paid their hard-earned money to watch us play, both teams, I think they deserved better also."
Keith Pompey: Joel Embiid on his controversial offensive foul on the #Sixers' final possession. “I watched the replay, I didn’t really see any push off. If you want to call that foul, especially at that time of the game, I think that’s kind of BS, especially because he was hooking me ...
Rivers said he thought Bledsoe pulled a fast one on the officiating crew. "That was awful," Rivers said afterward. "It was. They should've overturned it. That's why I hate the rule. Nobody wants to be wrong. Let me just say that. You have to overturn that. Unless Bledsoe fouled Lou with his face, there was no foul on that play."
Dwain Price: The NBA Last Two Minute Report showed that Dwight Howard should have been whistled for an offensive foul when he held Seth Curry on the play where Danny Green hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send last night's Mavs-Lakers game into overtime, where the LAL won 119-110.
Doncic said he didn't even know who hit him from behind to cause his laceration but strongly believed a loose-ball foul should have been called. He also complained to referee Mark Lindsay about being hit in the face by James on a pass that resulted in a turnover in the opening minute of overtime, pointing to his face and the back of his head repeatedly during a conversation with the official while James shot the free throws that put the Lakers up nine points with less than a minute left. "I was just asking if I got hit in the head, how's that not a foul?" said Doncic, who on multiple occasions showed referees scratches on his arms after drives that didn't result in foul calls, once leading to a stoppage in play for infectious disease control because he was bleeding. "Just should have concentrated on the game and not talked to the refs. That was my fault."
Coach Rick Carlisle agreed with his team's 20-year-old star. "I was upset, too, but I'm not going to spend 50 grand to criticize," Carlisle said. "It just doesn't make sense. These are hard games. I don't know what else to say. They're hard games, and they're very emotional. It's tough. It's tough when you think you're getting hit and the whistle's not blowing."
Tim MacMahon: Seth Curry mentioned that Mavs blew two chances to foul on last possession of 4Q. “Even so, I knew what play was coming. ... I’m still there to take away that pass, and then [Dwight Howard] grabbed me and it was a no-call right in front of the official. It’s just unfortunate.”
John Hollinger: The league has worked really hard to develop a pipeline of young refs via the G League, but the fact is that nobody went to college on an officiating scholarship — officiating is something a person tries to pick up later, and few turn out to be a natural at it. Finally, the faster-paced game that has developed over the past few years has created another issue — people who are NOT world-class athletes having to keep up with them from end to end. How do you feel, Seth, about adding additional officials and/or keeping one ref on each baseline the whole game?
John Hollinger: From the front office side during my time with the Grizzlies, we absolutely had times we wanted to show players and/or coaches that we had their backs. An awful game-deciding call went against us early in one coach’s tenure, and we made sure to howl about it with the league for that purpose. We also had a situation where a particular player felt like he wasn’t getting a fair whistle, and we made a big stink about that too. (But “take that for data” was the only time we did it publicly. Too often it just looks like sour grapes and whining. A lot of times that’s because it is.)
Royce Young: D'Angelo Russell just picked up back to back techs and is tossed. It almost looked like he was trying to get run. He went after ref James Williams very demonstrably after the first tech and may have even made some slight contact with him.

http://twitter.com/MarkG_Medina/status/1183111649776943104
Salman Ali: James Harden on the NBA clearing up that his patented step back is not a travel: "It shouldn't have been a point (of discussion) period. The moves that I do and I create aren't travels or the referees get paid a lot of money and are the best at what they do would call a travel."
Salman Ali: Mike D'Antoni on the new traveling rules: "[The NBA] made a point to tell every head coach that [James Harden's step back] is not traveling... So hopefully, coaches will quit complaining and hopefully you guys in the news will understand that that's not traveling."
Emiliano Carchia: Andrew Bogut after foul on Marc Gasol witth 8 seconds to play He “shows” money…

http://twitter.com/Carchia/status/1172449067970060288
John Schuhmann: After Australia’s 2OT loss to Spain in the WC semifinals here in Beijing, Andrew Bogut cursed his way past all the reporters in the mix zone, griping about FIBA & clearly wanting to be heard.
Tim Reynolds: Andrew Bogut screaming postgame that FIBA is “a (bleeping) disgrace.” “Cheating bleep bleeper-bleepers” was also shouted.
Donatas Urbonas: Dainius Adomaitis when asked why three South American referees worked in a game where two great European teams played: "Thank you! Thank you for this question! You don't have to be very smart for this: just give us three European referees! But you should ask this FIBA."
“I think we have to learn how the game is officiated,” Harrison Barnes said. “I think there are some plays that we’re kind of used to how the NBA officiates things. We get the ‘no call’ but then at the other end it just looks like we’re fouling every single time. Whether it’s post defense, whether it’s coming off screens. Whether it’s bumping a guy after driving, so there’s a learning curve we’re getting better at, but tonight it was definitely evident.”
With Collins’ sneaky athleticism he had officials apologizing and admitting they, at times, had wrongfully called a foul. “There were a couple of plays where I’d block a shot and the ref would come up to me and apologize to me and say, ‘well, you were so far away from the play, we didn’t think that you’d be able to get there, so it was a foul’.” Collins went onto say, “which I understand… I don’t think it’s like a respect thing, but hopefully they’ll know me better and they’ll know that maybe I could get there this time.”
he NBA Board of Governors today unanimously approved two changes to the instant replay rules. The first change is the introduction of a Coach’s Challenge to trigger instant replay review of a limited set of matters. A version of the Coach’s Challenge that has been in effect in the NBA G League for the last two seasons and is being used at MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2019 will be adopted in the NBA on a one-year trial basis during the 2019-20 season.
The second change enables the NBA Replay Center (in addition to the on-court referees) to trigger instant replay in certain circumstances. This process, which was successfully tested at MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2018 and is being used again at this year’s event, will be implemented for the 2019-20 NBA season.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Besides approving coach's challenge, Board of Governors approved replay center's ability -- in addition to game refs -- to trigger instant replay. Approved circumstances include whether it's a 2 or 3 point FG; and if a shot was made prior or after the shot clock expired.
Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard believed there was contact before Andre Iguodala's strip that sealed the Golden State Warriors' 114-111 win in Thursday night's Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, but he didn't blame the referees for not blowing the whistle. After the Warriors fouled with 10 seconds remaining, Lillard isolated against Iguodala on the left wing, attempting to create space to shoot a 3-pointer that would have tied the score.
Speaking of Tuesday's GMs meeting: Multiple sources say the liveliest topic of discussion centered around the possibility of implementing a coach's challenge at some point soon. Some in the room favored a more limited challenge system focused on black-and-white rulings: out of bounds plays, goaltending, and the like -- but not fouls. Others argued coaches should be able to challenge foul calls. The league would likely favor the more restricted concept, if anything. Allowing coaches to challenge fouls is something of a Pandora's box. Should they be able to challenge non-calls, too? There was also discussion of whether a challenge should cost a team one timeout regardless of whether the coach "wins" or "loses" the challenge. Some in the room were wary of coaches using the challenge to create an extra timeout. Also: What if a team is out of timeouts?
Also discussed, per sources: stationing a "replay official" at the scorer's table who could make some determinations (was that shot a 2-pointer or a 3-pointer?) without stopping play, and flag other plays right away so that referees would not have to huddle up and decide whether to trigger review. Thumbs up!
Harrison Wind: Stotts on the shoulder Jokic gave Kanter on the foul line box out in Game 3: “I have seen it and I think it was uncalled for. I don’t know if the league will review it or not. I certainly didn’t approve of it.”
Enes Kanter: Take a freaking look at this please @OfficialNBARefs @NBAOfficial

http://twitter.com/Enes_Kanter/status/1124571034391203840

http://twitter.com/BenGolliver/status/1124516847653617664?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
“We know how many free throws [Antetokounmpo] has shot per game,” Irving said. "He’s a great player in our league. We know how many times he goes to the basket and gets contact. We also know how many times we go to the basket and get contact. “It’s a playoff game. Guys are playing very aggressive. When you get into the bonus with 8 minutes left in the third, it’s a shocker. It will put something in your mind where you don’t want to touch anyone.”
After everything that happened in the wake of Game 1, when the Rockets were incensed with the officials and The Athletic story that followed fueled so much worldwide disdain for their Beautiful Mind style system, one had to wonder: How did all of the reaction land with Morey, who built this program that is designed for players to play the probabilities on a basketball floor as if it were a craps table? “I mean, I’ve been dealing with it for a while,” Morey said before deciding not to go any farther.
Spend half an hour talking to NBA vice president of referee development and training Monty McCutchen about this week’s hot topic — a divide between players and officials overshadowing the start of the league’s highest-profile series — and you get the feeling that conspiracy theories so often floated by fans, players, coaches and even general managers are mostly laughable. “It really is,” McCutchen told Yahoo Sports by phone on Wednesday. “That’s often the case. What’s on the inside is much more normal and mundane than human. We’re trying to get plays right. We want to serve the game well. We have the same desires individually for success in our careers that other people do in their careers, and you do that by being impartial and upholding standards with a certain resolve and will. You most certainly don’t do that by being vindictive and living through your emotions. I’m proud of our group that they consistently do good work.”
Several themes ran through our discussion, none more than the constant battle against public perception to ensure the game he loves remains impartial. McCutchen is essentially tasked with molding the NBA’s referees into a robot army capable of upholding standards void of emotion. “It’s like a race-car driver,” said McCutchen. “If you and I start driving 75 or 80 miles per hour, we might start to feel really uncomfortable behind the wheel. Like, I don’t feel like I’m able to take in the necessary information that allows me to be a good decision-maker at higher speeds, and those aren’t even high speeds compared to a race-car driver, but because they’ve trained, they’re able to process that information in ways that you and I can’t. It’s the same for referees.”
“If people can’t remove themselves from those emotions, then they’re not capable of working this time of year or they expose that they’re not capable if given the opportunity and can no longer handle this, and they go backwards instead of forwards,” said McCutchen. “It’s all in the training. If we don’t train well, then we have to live with the results of giving into our emotions, but don’t mistake in my opinion the fact that refereeing is not the same as playing. “Playing is a much different emotional experience, because you’re banging, you’re playing a physical game. It’s much different as a referee, where your job is to rise above emotion and get to standards. If we can uphold standards, then we’ve had a successful night, which is sort of the antithesis of emotion. You’re saying to yourself, ‘It doesn’t matter what the situation is, I have a standard to uphold.’ Through our process of vetting who’s having the best years, we feel highly confident — not perfect — that we have the people to rise above and uphold our standards.”
A. Sherrod Blakely: Marcus Morris heard about Giannis Antetokounmpo accusing the #Celtics of excessive fouling. "Please! Borderline not fouling his ass, with him getting calls," Mook said. "That just shows we're probably getting to him by now."
It did not match the extent the Rockets had at the beginning of this playoff series. Nonetheless, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said the team plans to ask the NBA league office to rescind a double technical issued to Draymond Green and Nene late in the third quarter of the Warriors’ 115-119 Game 2 win over Houston on Tuesday at Oracle Arena. Green has four technicals, leaving him three shy of receiving a one-game suspension during the playoffs without pay. “Every time there’s an altercation, it’s a double technical. If you’re playing in the playoffs for a few rounds, those add up,” Kerr said. “If the way to handle it is to call a double technical, I think the league needs to consider that.”
It appears likely the NBA will rescind the double technicals based on recent precedent. Following Game 3 of the Warriors’ first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, the NBA rescinded a double technical on Kevin Durant and JaMychal Green. After Green fouled Durant on a hard screen, the two players engaged with what appeared to be playful banter as the two walked toward the other side of the court. Both players looked perplexed after they were issued with double technicals. “It’s a competitive atmosphere out there,” Kerr said. “It’s a playoff game. Guys are going to get tangled up.”
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January 24, 2021 | 12:31 pm EST Update
Ex-NBA star Joe Johnson says Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving are already the most lethal scoring big 3 in NBA history … telling TMZ Sports the Brooklyn Nets will be a serious problem for “any damn body.” It’s a huge statement coming from Johnson — after all, the Golden State Warriors won 2 ‘ships with the offensive juggernaut of KD, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson … and very well could have won more if everyone had stayed healthy.
The Heat will use coronavirus-sniffing dogs at AmericanAirlines Arena to screen fans who want to attend their games. They’ve been working on the plan for months, and the highly trained dogs have been in place for some games this season in which the team has allowed a handful of guests — mostly friends and family of players and staff. Starting this week, a limited number of ticket holders will be in the seats as well, provided they get past the dogs first.
Storyline: Coronavirus
January 24, 2021 | 11:49 am EST Update
Russell has always justified his reasons for the Wolves’ struggles to newness. They have the youngest roster in the NBA and have been missing Towns for most of the season. Rubio said he is fine with playing off the ball if it adds winning to the mix. “Whatever the team needs, and if it’s playing off the ball, it’s going to take some time, because I have to learn and I have to know my teammates better and know my game and how to play off the ball,” Rubio said. “It’s a challenge, and it takes you to uncomfortable zones, but it’s a learning process. You don’t learn something from one day to another. It’s step by step.”
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