James Harden jaws with fan, sets free-throw record… for now

Danuel House Jr. La Marcus Aldridge out for Rockets Spurs tilt

Harden appeared to have scored on a dunk in the fourth quarter with 7:53 left and the Rockets leading 102-89.

Midway through the fourth quarter of the Rockets narrow defeat to the San Antonio Spurs, Harden stole the ball and gave himself a free run to the net.

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.

After the game, Harden acknowledged that the dunk call was a factor. Replays backed him up and James Capers, the officiating crew chief, admitted that the basket should have counted.

Afterwards, Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni expressed is disbelief. But at the same time, there's a lot that went right throughout the game that San Antonio can focus on going forward to spur a mid-season turn around. 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.

"I don't know how to answer your question". When that happens, that is basket interference.

Capers said that the play was reviewable, but the Rockets eclipsed the 30 second window for challenging the play.

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D'Antoni had a different explanation of why he was unable to challenge the call. "I've got nothing, I can't tell you".

Harden broke away and took his time before dunking emphatically into an empty net. Since the game ultimately went to overtime, those two points were very much impactful.

Ultimately the league made a decision to replay the final 51.9 seconds before their next scheduled meeting, and the Hawks still pulled out a 114-111 win.

Despite getting the short end of the stick, the Rockets still blew a 22-point lead.

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. These are two franchises that find guys other teams overlook and turn them into valuable contributors - three undrafted players started in this game, Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson for Miami, and Fred VanVleet for Toronto.

Harden shot 28.9%, easily the worst mark ever in a 50-point game, according to StatMuse's Justin Kubatko, who also notes that his 16 misses from beyond the arc tied the all-time single-game record for missed threes.

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