'I've got nothing': National Basketball Association baffled by James Harden's 'missed' dunk

Ross Houston
December 4, 2019

Houston Rockets star James Harden was involved in some controversy Tuesday night after a dunk that was waved off by officials sparked a San Antonio Spurs comeback and win in double overtime.

Yet it was the Spurs who edged a thrilling duel 135-133 after two periods of overtime.

Houston was leading 102-89 in the fourth quarter when Harden dunked on a breakaway.

Unfortunately for the Rockets, the ball began to swirl as it left Harden's hand, and upon going through the cylinder, it became entangled with the net before spinning back around and over the rim, giving the appearance of a missed basket.


I'm not buying that, even though the timing issue is likely what the league falls back on to retain the game's outcome. It clearly took time for the referees to figure out what happened and explain their call to D'Antoni, which is when the coach said he made the challenge.

Despite the controversial play, Harden went on to finish with another monster stat line of 50 points, nine rebounds and six assists - following up his 60-point explosion against Atlanta in stylish fashion.

"I heard that they said the ball hit James and went back through, so it was a goaltend on James". "So I challenged that. I've got nothing, I can't tell you".

"Then another guy said it wasn't a goaltend; it went out of bounds on us". And I said, "Well, I challenge that".


That basket, you know, sort of mattered. "I didn't get an explanation".

Walker had 18 points in the fourth quarter, including eight straight to close the game and force overtime. San Antonio went on an 8-0 run in the final 1:07 to tie the score at 115-115 and send the game to overtime.

Point guard James Harden (right) of the Houston Rockets scored 50 points against the Spurs but it was not enough to secure the win.

Slovenian prodigy Doncic finished with 33 points, a career-high 18 rebounds and five assists in just three quarters of action as the Mavs improved to 14-6 in the Western Conference standings. The second came against DeMar DeRozan with 0.8 seconds remaining, sealing San Antonio's victory.


Soon after the game, referee crew chief James Capers admitted to reporters that the dunk should have counted. When that happens, that is basket interference. 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.

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