Houston Rockets officials believe they may be able to convince the NBA to take action after referees failed to count a James Harden dunk during their double-overtime 135-133 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night. No matter what happens, though, sports bettors won’t have to worry about the settlement of their bets on the game.

Rockets Spurs James Harden
The Rockets are seeking help from the NBA after officials failed to count a James Harden dunk during the fourth quarter of a loss against the Spurs. (Image: Daniel Dunn/USA Today Sports)

The controversy occurred with 7:50 remaining in the fourth quarter and the rockets holding a 102-89 lead.

Refs Blow Call on Harden Dunk

Harden was on a breakaway and threw down a hard dunk that went through the net, then whipped around back over the rim before bouncing off the cylinder.

At the time, the officials ruled that Harden had missed the dunk, and went on to deny a request from Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni to challenge the call. The Spurs would come back to tie the game in regulation, then win after two extra periods.

“When the play happened, Harden goes in for a dunk, and then the ball appears to us to pop back through the net. When that happens, that is basket interference,” official James Capers told reporters after the game. “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 officials, D’Antoni could have challenged the call, but failed to ask for a challenge in the required 30 second window after play had stopped.

Potential Rockets Remedies Include Replaying Finish

Citing unnamed sources, ESPN reported that Houston is optimistic that the NBA could step in to rectify the situation. The Rockets could be awarded the win based on the fact that had the basket counted, Houston would technically have scored two more points than the Spurs in regulation.

It is almost unthinkable that the NBA would do that, however, since the remainder of the game may have played out differently if the score was changed. Instead, a more realistic solution could be to restart the game with 7:50 left in the fourth quarter, with Harden’s basket being added to the score.

Such replays are rare, but they have happened before. In the 2007-2008 season, a game between the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks was restarted four months after Atlanta had won in overtime after officials mistakenly declared that Miami’s Shaquille O’Neal had fouled out with 51.9 seconds remaining. The league ordered the final 51.9 seconds to be replayed. The Hawks won the second time around as well.

Bets Won’t Be Impacted If NBA Steps In

It seems unlikely that the Rockets will get their way and get to replay the final minutes of Tuesday’s game. But even if that does happen, there’s no need for gamblers who bet on the game to sweat the results of the second iteration of the finish.

That’s because sportsbooks typically have rules that specify that wagers are settled based on the determined result on the day of the contest, and that later changes to that result don’t impact those bets. These rules prevent confusion over a variety of situations, from college teams later being forced to vacate victories to results of boxing or MMA matches being changed to no contests due to drug test results that may only become public months or years later.

For instance, the DraftKings Sportsbook contains the following language under its result settlement rules.

“Settlement of bets will not include any changes deriving from and/or attributable to, but not limited to: disqualifications, penalizations, protests, sub judice results, and/or successive changes to the official result after the event has been completed and a result has been announced, even preliminarily,” the DraftKings rules read.

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