NBA denies Mavs' protest

DALLAS -- Commissioner David Stern denied the Dallas Mavericks' protest of their Dec. 18 loss to the Houston Rockets, the NBA announced Tuesday.

The Mavericks based their protest on a technical foul they argued was improperly called on center Erick Dampier with 1:01 remaining in the overtime period of the 116-108 loss. The technical foul was assessed during an eight-minute review of a flagrant foul called on Rockets guard Aaron Brooks.

Stern determined that the referees' decision to assess the technical foul -- Dampier's second of the game, resulting in his ejection -- was a judgment call and could not successfully be protested under NBA rules. The Mavericks had argued that it was a misapplication of the rules.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he was not surprised that the protest was denied.

"But I think it sets a good precedent that I can build off of in the Board of Governors meeting," Cuban said, declining to discuss specifics. "I think we gave them some issues to think about."

Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.