Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni philosophical about missed James Harden dunk

TORONTO — Houston coach Mike D'Antoni was philosophical Thursday in the wake of a James Harden dunk that didn't count in the Rockets' loss in San Antonio on Tuesday.

"It's just part of the game. A mistake was made," D'Antoni said before his team faced the Raptors. "We should have won anyways.

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"We just move on. We'll see what the league does. They do what they do. But we've got to go on ... We kicked one away. Period."

The Harden dunk somehow spun back out of the basket — with 7:53 remaining and Houston leading 102-89.

The ball was ruled not to have cleared the cylinder. Crew chief James Capers said after the game, however, that the ball did clear the net and should have counted. He also said the 30-second limit on a coach's challenge had passed.

The Rockets went on to lose 135-133 in double-overtime with Harden scoring 50 points.

D'Antoni's comments came amidst several reports that the Rockets were preparing to file an official protest to the league.

D'Antoni questioned whether there was a 30-second time limit, saying it just had to be done quickly.

"We didn't know what the call was," he said. "And so we were waiting to see what the call was. And as soon as we found what the call was, we said we wanted to protest and they said we couldn't."

Toronto coach Nick Nurse was flabbergasted by the sequence.

"I don't think I've seen anything like that — that didn't count," he said. "I think it's amazing, I don't know how nobody saw it."

"There's a lot of people that saw it go in ... Getting it right should be the top of the list and then all of the other little rules about what you can and can't challenge should be next," he added.

Harden, who had led the Rockets in scoring in 19 straight games prior to the Toronto visit, dropped 60 points on Atlanta last Saturday in a 158-111 Houston win.

The Spurs loss marked Houston's third straight road setback.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 5, 2019.

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