The NBA has a wild history of successful game protests

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With the New York Knicks fighting for seeding in the top half of the Eastern Conference playoff race, Monday’s 105-103 loss to the Houston Rockets could prove costly.

What stings even more: According to the officials, that result should have never happened.

Both the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report and game crew chief Ed Malloy acknowledged that Knicks guard Jalen Brunson was incorrectly called for a foul against Rockets guard Aaron Holiday inside the final second.

On Tuesday, the Knicks filed a protest with the NBA to dispute the loss, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

History, however, is not on New York’s side when it comes to successful game protests. It has happened only six times in NBA history, and only once in the past 41 years, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.


Shaquille O’Neal was incorrectly ruled to have six fouls when he had only five. The game was resumed on March 8, 2008, but no one scored in the 51.9 seconds that were replayed from overtime.

The Hawks won 114-111, and O’Neal didn’t play — he was traded to the Suns before the game was resumed.


A double lane violation was called after Norm Nixon failed to release the ball on a free throw attempt, resulting in a jump ball. It should have been a non-call, and Nixon should have attempted the free throw.

The Lakers won the jump ball, tied the game and won in double overtime.

The game was resumed on April 13, 1983, with the Spurs leading 116-114 with three seconds left and Nixon attempting the free throw. San Antonio won the game by three points.


Referee Richie Powers called three technical fouls on Nets head coach Kevin Loughery, exceeding the limit of two.

The final 17:50 of the game — which also featured Bernard King, Phil Jackson and Julius Erving — was replayed on March 23, 1979.

Here comes the fun part: These teams actually made a trade with each other between the original game and the replay. Because of this, Eric Money, Harvey Catchings and Ralph Simpson ended up playing for both the Nets and 76ers — the only players in NBA history to hit the court for both teams in the same game, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.


The last four seconds of this game were replayed on Feb. 1, 1972, after the Cavaliers successfully protested they did not receive the full benefit of a timeout.

The result of the game remained the same, with the Braves winning by one point.


Nov. 6, 1969: Atlanta Hawks vs. Chicago Bulls

Famously known as the Phantom Buzzer Game, a tip-in at the buzzer was not counted after the officials disagreed on whether the buzzer sounded before the field goal occurred.

The game was restarted with one second left and the game tied at 124. The Hawks went on to win by five points in overtime.


Nov. 28, 1952: Milwaukee Hawks vs. Philadelphia Warriors

The Hawks had only four eligible players left due to disqualifications but were incorrectly allowed to bring in a fifth player. They won the game 78-77 in double overtime.

The protest resulted in the game being completely replayed on March 11, 1953, in Pittsburgh. The Warriors won 72-69 … in overtime.

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