Houston Rockets Think ‘Referees Likely Changed the Eventual NBA Champion’

by April 30, 2019

The Rockets wrote a memo after flaming out against Golden State in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals last summer, alleging that referees “likely changed” the outcome of the championship.

The League told the Rockets they “do not agree” with the methodology of their audit.

The theme returned Sunday night after the Warriors beat Houston 104-100 Sunday night in Game 1 of their second round series, with James Harden complaining about a lack of fairness from the officials.


“Referees likely changed the eventual NBA champion,” says the memo, addressed to Byron Spruell, the NBA’s president of league operations. “There can be no worse result for the NBA.”

The Rockets never actually sent the memo to Spruell, because they ended up communicating its messages — including that they believe officiating cost them the 2018 title — during in-person meetings with league officials, according to multiple league sources.

The full report obtained by ESPN lists 81 total calls, non-calls and violations. It concludes that those 81 instances cost Houston a total of 18.6 points in that game. In its own reports, the league does not attach point values to missed calls and non-calls.

“As we told the Rockets, we do not agree with their methodology,” Mike Bass, an NBA spokesman, told ESPN on Monday.

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