This matchup between the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets had a little bit of everything.
The Spurs came back from down by as many as 22 points to force overtime. An unheralded player - Lonnie Walker IV - completely took over down the stretch to keep San Antonio alive. DeMar DeRozan came up with a pair of clutch plays in double-overtime to lead the team to victory.
James Harden scored 50 points for the second-consecutive game. His controversial made dunk that did not count only further ignited the Spurs' run. Clint Capela also had another 20-point, 20-rebound game.
In trying to make sense of all this madness, we have you covered with some clarity below.
The made dunk that did not count
This is the craziest "missed" dunk I've ever seen. Crazy, because James Harden didn't miss it. Refs missed the call. Rockets lost in OT. 😬pic.twitter.com/uNkD5ez32Z- Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) December 4, 2019
My first question is - why did he chase after the ball as if he didn't just throw it down for a bucket?
Regardless, the basket did not count and it should have. Had Harden just jogged down the other end of the court and acted like it was any other fastbreak dunk, the referees probably would have counted it. Frantically running at the ball as if he was going after an offensive rebound only added to the confusion of the play.
The Spurs were amidst their comeback run at this moment and a breakaway dunk like that has a way of dispelling momentum. When it was ruled that it did not count, it only sparked more energy to continue fighting.
Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni tried to challenge the play, but was told he could not.
Does this one play in a 15-point game with just under eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter explain allowing a 22-point comeback capped off in double-overtime? No. But the fact that the final outcome was decided by two points makes the microscope over it somewhat reasonable.
After the game, the referee issued an official statement regarding the play.
The comeback and Lonnie Walker IV's big game
Down 22. Never gave up.- San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 4, 2019
Highlights from tonight's comeback victory 🎥 pic.twitter.com/PouEADLoUR
The Spurs trailed by as many as 22 points in the third quarter but never gave up thanks to a breakout performance from Lonnie Walker IV.
The second-year player and No. 18 overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft caught a hot hand in the fourth quarter, exploding for 19 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the field, burying three of his four 3-point attempts.
He had a crazy tomahawk dunk in transition in the fourth to help keep the team's energy up during the run. He also scored the Spurs final eight points to send the game into OT. He had a bucket in transition, a 3-pointer to bring them within three, then buried the game-tying shot from well beyond the 3-point line.
🚨TIE GAME 🚨#GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/KFUdGXi2og- San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 4, 2019
Walker finished with a career-high 28 points to give the Spurs a much-needed big win.
DeRozan comes up clutch
Lonnie Walker IV brought the Spurs back in it, but it was their star guard DeMar DeRozan that closed things out.
DeRozan had a team-high nine points in the two overtime periods and came up with big plays when they needed him most.
Trailing by one-point in double-overtime, the four-time All-Star attacked the rim in transition and got fouled with three seconds remaining. After taking a brutal fall on the collision, DeRozan was still able to step to the line and bury both free throws to take a one-point lead.
On the ensuing possession, the lethal scoring James Harden was coming downhill toward the rim to win the game, and DeRozan slid in to take a charge and win the game.
DeMar DeRozan with the clutch free throws and charge to secure the @spurs 2OT comeback victory! #GoSpursGo pic.twitter.com/sD3J7aRqSK- NBA (@NBA) December 4, 2019
DeRozan finished the contest with 23 points, nine assists and five rebounds.
Harden and Capela's dominance continue
You hear enough about James Harden's scoring, so I'll make this quick.
The league's leading scorer dropped 50 points for the second-consecutive game. He did so on an NBA record 24-for-24 from the free throw line - tying the most consecutive free throws made without a miss (Dirk Nowitzki, 2011 Playoffs).
He didn't shoot particularly well, going 11-for-38 from the field and 4-for-20 from beyond the arc, but his relentlessness in attacking the hoop was enough to notch 50 points.
Now on to his teammate.
Clint Capela has been quietly destroying opposing teams. He's been battling through some injuries, but when he is on the floor, he's been a rebounding machine.
Capela finished this contest with 22 points on a perfect 9-for-9 shooting and 21 rebounds.
💪 @CapelaClint (22 PTS, 9-9 FGM, 21 REB) becomes the first player since 1976 to grab 19+ rebounds in 8 consecutive games. #OneMission pic.twitter.com/qTWZNWtEhR- NBA (@NBA) December 4, 2019
It was his eighth-consecutive game with 19-plus rebounds - the most since 1976 - and his seventh game with 20-plus rebounds. It was also his third 20-20 game of the season.