A successful protest, which is rare, would result in part of the game being replayed. The basket was incorrectly waved off, and the Rockets ended up losing the game by two, prompting the protest.
The NBA explained in a statement that the ball was "dunked with such force that, as it cleared the net, the ball was propelled around the basket and upward, creating an initial appearance that it was not a successful field goal".
Although Commissioner Silver agreed that the referees had misapplied the rules, he noted that the missiles had plenty of time to remedy the error in the remaining fourth quarter and in two more overtime hours, so the extraordinary remedy provided by the grant a game protest was not justified. "Because Houston called the timeout in this case, it was entitled to challenge the basket interference call upon being inforced of it by the game officials".
Houston were leading 102-89 but went on to lose 135-133 in double overtime.
The play was never reviewed because Houston head coach Mike D'Antoni missed the 30-second window to issue a coach's challenge, according to James Capers who was the crew chief in charge of the game.
The Rockets challenged the waved-off dunk after a timeout, but officials ruled that Houston had exceeded the 30-second time limit for challenges.
Sacramento's Buddy Hield (24) goes up for a shot as Houston's James Harden (13) defends during the Kings 119-118 win over the Rockets Monday night in Houston.
Houston guard Austin Rivers said the decision wasn't a big deal since the call wasn't why the Rockets lost.
In addition to the loss, the Rockets also had to pay a $10,000 protest fee to the league for filing.
The league also announced that all three officials from the game had been disciplined for misapplying the Coach's Challenge rule and as a result of the investigation, the National Basketball Association will work with the Competition Committee to ensure there is no repeat of the Harden incident.
In response to the blunder, the league announced it would work with the competition committee "to develop additional procedures" to prevent similar mistakes.
D'Antoni was unhappy that the officials were disciplined.
"I hate it for them".