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Tough Breaks

The Houston Rockets just authored the most brutal loss of the NBA season

February 09, 2023

NBA fans woke up to wild news on Thursday morning following a blockbuster trade that sent Kevin Durant from Brooklyn to Phoenix and completely shifted the league's power landscape as we approach the playoffs. But lost in all that is what will probably turn out to be the most crushing loss of the season in the Association.

The Houston Rockets—basically the only team in the entire Western Conference without a shot at making the playoffs—were on the verge of a nice win over a surprising Sacramento Kings team. They were up 1 and they had the ball with 1.1 seconds left. You can't lose that game! Unless, well, you're the Houston Rockets apparently.

Malik Monk stole Alperen Sengun's inbounds pass and Sacramento called a timeout. Still, they're probably about 98 percent to win at that point instead of 99.9 percent (not to mention they were up 5 with the ball and under one minute remaining earlier). But on Sacramento's ensuing possession, the Kings got the ball into the hands of All-Star snub De'Aaron Fox, who flung up a desperation three at the buzzer—and flung out his legs and arms to draw a foul. It worked.

Eric Gordon was whistled for a foul and despite an initial replay that showed he didn't touch Fox, a second look proves he bumped his lower body. Ever so slightly. Have a look for yourself:

Man, that is absolutely brutal. Of course, Fox made all three free throws and the Kings won 130-128. But at least they got the call right—even though the ref who called the foul had no angle to see that contact. Guess NBA refs are just that good! And this happened to come on the same day Roger Goodell said NFL officiating has "never been better." LOL.

On the bright side for Houston, this will only help their chances of winning the draft lottery, AKA the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes. Rockets brass probably gave Gordon a big pat on the back after. And if they're thinking of trading the veteran before the deadline, they might want to think again. He's pretty good at this tanking thing.

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