The Dallas Mavericks and their owner Mark Cuban are not happy with the NBA after an alleged miscommunication by the officials led to an easy two points for the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, in a two-point Warriors win.
The play in question came in the third quarter. At first glance, it looks like a catastrophic mistake by the Mavericks, who were guarding the wrong side of the floor. Warriors guard Jordan Poole quickly inbounded the ball to Kevon Looney, who threw down a half-hearted dunk as the Mavericks’ Josh Green arrived to the scene.
The basket put the Warriors up 98-96 early in the fourth quarter.
You don’t see that very often at youth games, let alone at the highest level of basketball.
Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd started arguing with referee Michael Smith to no avail, but that wasn’t the end of the discourse over the Warriors’ 5-on-0 breakaway.
Mark Cuban and ref give their sides of the story on Warriors-Mavericks play
Cuban tweeted later in the game that the officials called Mavericks ball on the previous play, which was followed by a Dallas timeout. At some point during the break in play, the officials allegedly changed the call and never told the Mavs, even when the team started lining up on the other side of the court.
According to Cuban, it might have been the worst non-call in the history of the NBA:
For those wondering about the play with 1:54 to go on the 3rd, let me explain what happened. The ref called Mavs ball . The announcer announced it. Then there was a timeout . During the time out the official changed the call and never told us. Then when they saw us line up as if it were our ball, he just gave the ball to the warriors. Never said a word to us They got an easy basketball. Crazy that it would matter in a 2 point game. Worst officiating non call mistake possibly in the history of the NBA . All they had to do was tell us and they didn’t.
With that rhetoric, you probably shouldn’t be surprised to hear that Shams Charania of The Athletic reported after the game that the Mavericks plan to file a formal protest with the NBA over the alleged mistake. That protest likely faces long odds, though, as no NBA protest has succeeded since 2008.
After the game, crew chief Sean Wright told a pool reporter the original signal was for Warriors ball and claimed the signal could be seen on video:
QUESTION: Why was possession given to the Warriors on that play after it was originally signaled to be the Mavericks’?
WRIGHT: Initially on the floor the original signal was in fact Golden State ball as this can be seen on video. There is a second signal but that signal is for a mandatory timeout that was due to the Mavs.
You can see the signal here:
The Warriors’ easy basket was far from the game’s only controversial call. Mavericks star Luka Doncic, who finished with 30 points and 17 assists, was frustrated enough he made a sign for money at an official at the end of the game.
The Mavericks wound up losing to the Warriors 127-125. The Warriors now sit in sixth place in the Western Conference at 38-36 while the 36-37 Mavericks fall to ninth place, so those two points — and any other missed call — loom large.
Had the Mavericks won, they would be the team currently in sixth place and a half-game ahead of the Warriors.