Rockets star Harden soared to the basket and slammed the ball through the hoop so hard that as it left the bottom of the net it spun back toward the rim and bounced off - leaving flummoxed game officials to rule no basket on the play.
James Harden missed 27 shots in last night's loss, but there's at least one miss that shouldn't have counted.
According to ESPN's Tim MacMahon, the Rockets are hopeful the National Basketball Association office will take action and either award the win to Houston or have the final near eight minutes replayed at a later date.
'I have no idea, ' D'Antoni said. Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni was baffled about why he was not able to challenge the call.
The Rockets are right to be upset about the blown call, as Harden should have been awarded two points for the dunk. "To have a successful field goal, it must clear the net", Capers told a pool reporter after the game in explaining how the call was made. And I said, 'Well, I challenge that.' Can't do that. They go 'can't do that.' I don't know. "I've got nothing, I can't tell you".
Goaltending and out of bounds plays can be challenged, but the explanation by the lead official James Capers after the game is D'Antoni took too long to make his challenge.
Capers also said that while the Rockets were protesting, the 30-second window for requesting a challenge passed. The 30-year-old guard shot just 11-of-38 from the field, including 4-of-20 from 3-point territory.
In 2008, the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks replayed the last 51.9 seconds of a game in which Shaquille O'Neal was mistakenly attributed a foul by the bookkeeper which resulted in him "fouling out" with that amount of time left in the game.
The NBA isn't going to have these teams replay the end of the game, especially when the Spurs have plays they can point to, including this missed backcourt violation by the Rockets that led to two points.
Ultimately the league chose to replay the final 51.9 seconds before their next scheduled meeting, and the Hawks still pulled out a 114-111 win.
Tuesday's game also was notable for Harden's dubious achievement.
Running mate Russell Westbrook added 19 points of his own, but the duo's poor shooting arguably proved costly for the Rockets.
'We just quit playing defense, we quit getting back, we turned it over silly and didn't get back. A ideal night from the free-throw line, where Harden nailed all 24 of his freebies.
Neither got what they wanted.