According to Houston Chronicle, the Rockets have filed a protest that will force the league to re-assess the outcome of Friday’s loss against the Clippers. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will have five days to review and rule upon the protest and whether it will be upheld or overturned.
With 3:10 left in Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, rookie point guard Jawun Evans reached in on a James Harden drive in what should have been his sixth foul. However, the foul was called on Lou Williams, who was far from the play when the foul occurred.
The incorrect call allowed Evans to continue playing even though he should have been disqualified for committing a sixth foul. Houston was angry about the call, especially because the play was reviewed to see whether Harden was in the act of shooting. The referees, however, were unable to change their incorrect ruling of the foul on Williams rather than change it to Evans.
After the foul, Harden sunk both free throws to bring the game to within three points. Evans remained in the game and had quite the impact, drawing two charges on Harden, which led to a Harden technical after he fouled out of the contest. Ultimately, the Clippers outscored the Rockets 14-7 in the final 3:10 to win the game 128-118, but now, that result may be in jeopardy.
If the protest is upheld by the league, it wipes the final 3:10 of the game clean and it was as if it never happened. The final moments of the game would be played on a date that fit both teams’ schedules and would feature the same rosters and lineups of both teams. Obviously, Evans would be ineligible as he fouled out, and the game would resume from the time the sixth foul was enforced.
Protests are very rarely upheld, but the Rockets have a strong case here. The last time a protest was upheld in an NBA game was in 2008 when Shaquille O’Neal “fouled out” with five fouls in an error made by the Atlanta Hawks’ scorer’s table. The teams had to play the final 51.7 seconds of a game the next time the two teams met in Atlanta.
It is uncertain whether the error made by the officials will be enough to uphold the protest, because it has never happened before in NBA history. If the protest goes Houston’s way, they will have a chance to get one back that they probably shouldn’t have had in the first place. But in the NBA, and especially the Western Conference, you’ll take any win you can get.