NBA officials did the unthinkable on Tuesday.
They acknowledged that James Harden traveled. And they admitted that they missed it.
Key call in Rockets win over Jazz
The infraction in question occurred late during the Houston Rockets’ 102-97 win over the Utah Jazz on Monday.
With less than a minute remaining, Harden pulled off a variation of his signature step-back move that saw him take well over his allotment of steps after picking up his dribble.
Whistle for Rubio, not for Harden
He pulled up for a 3-pointer and drew a whistle after Jazz guard Ricky Rubio hit him on the elbow. The call, of course, was on Rubio. The blatant traveling violation prior to the shot was ignored.
Harden proceeded to hit 2-of-3 free throws to extend the Rockets lead to 99-94. Had the correct call been made, the Jazz would have been awarded the ball trailing 97-94 with a little less than a minute remaining in the game, which presents an entirely different end-of-game scenario.
Refs blasted for call
The call drew plenty of criticism on Twitter, including from Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala, who directly challenged officials to respond.
Officials admit their mistake
Respond, the officials did. And, stunningly, they owned up to it.
The NBA referees Twitter account, which has been used in the past not only to defend some of the indefensible Harden-related calls but to criticize those who criticize them for those calls, owned up to getting this one wrong.
The offensive player gathers the ball while on his right foot. He then takes a step with his left foot (step 1) into a hop step, landing first with his right foot (step 2) and then illegally with his left (step 3). We missed this one – it is a traveling violation. https://t.co/BqMAoZHgIu
— NBA Referees (@OfficialNBARefs) December 18, 2018
Surprising response from referees’ Twitter account
Kudos, NBA referees. It’s OK to admit when you’re wrong. It’s even better to get things right the first time.
It’s a much more reasonable response than seen here, when whomever was running the account was mad that TNT analyst Chris Webber called officials out for being duped by Harden when he initiated contact with Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma and fell to the floor last week.
.@RealChrisWebber is incorrect here as well. This is a correctly called foul, as the defender makes contact with his shoulder as he is moving illegally into the offensive player's space. These are obvious fouls, and fans deserve accurate analysis. 2/2 pic.twitter.com/59VQSbTDbj
— NBA Referees (@OfficialNBARefs) December 14, 2018
More from Yahoo Sports:
• NFL Power Rankings: What’s wrong with the Rams?
• Saints nearly blow MNF on fumble into end zone
• Ballon d’Or winner wants respect after ‘stupid joke’ at award ceremony
• EricReid dons cleats promoting Kaepernick, history of protest