The NBA denied the Sacramento Kings' protest of their Nov. 13 last-second loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, but at least some in the Kings organization still think the team was robbed of a deserved victory.
The NBA announced on Friday that commissioner Adam Silver denied the Kings' protest of the 111-110 loss to the host Grizzlies. The basis of the Kings' protest was that Grizzlies guard Courtney Lee's acrobatic game-winning shot should have been disqualified as having been made after time expired. Silver determined that the officials' ruling that Lee's shot was timely was within their judgment and not a misapplication of the playing rules.
"The referees had a duty to count frames on the replay and they didn't," one Kings source said. "We felt and still feel strongly that there was significant error in this decision."
Under NBA procedures, each team has an opportunity to make submissions in support of its position, and the protesting team is required to establish a misapplication of the official playing rules that had a clear impact on the game's outcome. The Kings filed a protest and sent their own video and pictures to the NBA hoping to strengthen their case. Kings officials believe the referees misapplied the rules by not counting frames on Lee's shot when analyzing the replay and not taking into account a late-starting clock, a source told Yahoo Sports.
Kings center Ryan Hollins told Yahoo Sports another reason why Lee's shot shouldn't have counted was because Hollins tipped the inbounds pass and that clock didn't start when he did. The NBA didn't mention Hollins in its statement. But an NBA spokesperson told Yahoo Sports there was no specific mention of Hollins' possible tip of the inbounds pass because the referees ruled he didn't touch it and there was no conclusive evidence in replays showing he did.
"I hit the ball," Hollins told Yahoo Sports. "No question about it. You see the trajectory. You even see my reaction afterwards. Even if you can't conclude that I hit the ball, the shot still didn't get off with the correct call."
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