Houston Compiled a Report Showing How Bad Officiating Cost Them 2018 NBA Finals Appearance

Houston launched an investigation into 2018 Western Conference Finals concluding that the refs cost them a shot at the NBA title.

James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets talks at the press conference

Image via Getty/Noah Graham/NBAE

James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets talks at the press conference

The Rockets/Warriors rivalry continues to burn white hot with Houston claiming that several missed calls led to their Game 1 loss—and it seems these complaints didn't start with this year's series. After losing the 2018 Western Conference Finals, Houston launched their own investigation into the series, concluding that the refs cost them a shot at the NBA title. 

On Monday, ESPN's Zach Lowe and Rachel Nichols disclosed that the Rockets intended to give the NBA's president of league operations Byron Spruell a detailed report that explained how poor officiating aided in their 2018 series against the Warriors. According to their analysis, a total of 81 non-calls and violations robbed the Rockets of 18.6 points in Game 7. This is more than double the 9-point margin that gave the Warriors the victory, leading Houston to believe if these whistles were blown they could have been NBA champions. In the report, Houston documents several plays the both benefited and hurt the Rockets to solidify their result in addition to revealing that missing the Finals cost them at least $20 million in potential revenue.

"Referees likely changed the eventual NBA champion," the memo addressed to Spruell states. "There can be no worse result for the NBA."

Yet the Rockets never actually sent the results of their investigation to Spruell​​​​​​​. Instead, the team executive had face-to-face meetings with several league officials where they were able to present them with their findings and communicate their grievances in person. To rectify these costly mistakes, Houston suggested that the NBA add a fourth on-court official and give every team a full-game officiating report for all games. 

Despite Houston's thorough documentation, the NBA stands by the results of the game. The league found several undisclosed issues with the Rockets research with a spokesperson explaining "we do not agree with their methodology." But with officiating adding to the drama of this year's match-up between the teams it is hard to ignore the ongoing friction between the Rockets and the referees. 

Latest in Sports