Rockets lodge protest over missed sixth foul in loss to Clippers

The Rockets are awaiting word back from the NBA after filing a protest with the league office over their Friday night loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles, the Houston Chronicle has reported, citing a person with knowledge of the filing.

Clippers guard Jawun Evans should have fouled out with 3:10 to play, but teammate Lou Williams was instead cited for a foul. The NBA confirmed through a spokesman that the issue was an error by the officials, the Chronicle reported. The Rockets lost 128-118 but were within three points when the mistake was made.

Houston, which had a 14-game winning streak snapped by the Lakers on Wednesday, lost consecutive games for just the second time this season.

The Clippers were fueled by Austin Rivers, who scored 30 of his career-high 36 points in the second half. James Harden led Houston with his second consecutive 51-point game.

After the win, the Clippers raved about the defense of Evans on Harden despite his big night.

"Jawun was probably my favorite player tonight ... the stuff he did down the stretch, irritating him, playing defense was special," Rivers said. "So for Jawun to be a rookie, 5-foot-10, 5-11 ... 160 pounds guarding probably the MVP this year. Come on, man. That was incredible."

Clippers coach Doc Rivers agreed and said: "I thought his defensive pressure gave us time to get back out on all their other shooters."

According to the Chronicle, the last time the NBA ruled in favor of a protest was in 2008, when the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat replayed the final 51 seconds of a game in which Shaquille O'Neal fouled out with five fouls rather than six.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.