On Sunday, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reported the protest stemmed from the referees incorrectly assessing Jawun Evans' sixth foul to teammate Lou Williams, which allowed Evans to remain in the game. An NBA spokesperson revealed the league knew about the mistake, according to Feigen.
According to Feigen, there isn't much precedent for the league to uphold an official protest.
The last time it occurred was in 2008, when the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks had to replay the last 51 seconds of a game after Miami's Shaquille O'Neal was initially deemed to have fouled out even though he had committed just five fouls.
As for Friday's contest, Houston trailed by three points with more than three minutes remaining when Evans should have fouled out.
Austin Rivers believed Evans' presence proved critical.
"Jawun was probably my favorite player tonight...the stuff he did down the stretch, irritating him, playing defense was special," Rivers said of Evans' defense on James Harden, per ESPN.com. "So for Jawun to be a rookie, 5'10, 5'11...160 pounds guarding probably the MVP this year. Come on, man. That was incredible."
Despite Rivers' praise, Harden finished the game with 51 points and eight assists, although he also had eight turnovers.
Rivers led the Clippers to the win with a career-high 36 points, while DeAndre Jordan turned heads with a double-double of 15 points and 20 rebounds.
Even after the loss, the Rockets still sit atop the Western Conference with a 25-6 record. They are percentage points ahead of the 26-7 Golden State Warriors.