James Harden's game-winning shot should not have counted, NBA says

The NBA came down harshly Friday in its review of the officials' crunch-time calls -- or lack thereof -- in the Houston Rockets' 97-96, Game 3 win over the Golden State Warriors, saying James Harden's game-winning shot should not have counted.

It was among five incorrect calls in the final two minutes, the NBA said in its assessment of officials' late-game performance dubbed the "Last Two Minute Report."

On the replay from Thursday night's game, it appeared Harden pushed off Golden State's Andre Iguodala before converting a 10-foot, step-back jumper with 2.7 seconds to play. The league said Harden initiated contact with Iguodala before hitting the basket.

Ian Clark's layup had put Golden State up by one with 10.6 seconds left after Shaun Livingston stole a pass from Trevor Ariza on the other end.

Harden, who finished with 35 points, then took the ball downcourt and stepped back for the jump shot to win it.

"The last shot was typical of what James does," Rockets coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. "The move, we've seen before. The finish, we've seen before. You do get spoiled by it at times, but in these biggest of moments, you can't help but appreciate it."

Golden State had a chance to win the game after Harden's shot, but Draymond Green dribbled the inbounds pass off his foot and out of bounds.

"I cost us the game," Green said. "The world will think I'm talking about that last turnover, but I'm not. That happens. I was awful the whole game. I care about that turnover, but I cost us the game way before then."

The NBA also said it had reviewed Green's end-of-game conduct -- in which, with one second left, he took Houston's Michael Beasley to the ground as the Rockets were trying to inbound the ball to run out the clock -- and had issued the Warriors forward a flagrant foul 1, the milder of the flagrant fouls in which the opponent would be awarded two free throws and possession of the ball.

The league said that the officials' no-call on the play was incorrect and that its basketball operations office had reviewed the play, specifically the contact.

The play was a point of emphasis from Rockets general manager Daryl Morey on Twitter late Thursday night, when a video of the contact was displayed of Green tackling Beasley to the ground.

Information from ESPN's Calvin Watkins and The Associated Press was used in this report.