The Dallas Mavericks are filing an official protest to the NBA saying referees made a mistake that resulted in essentially a free basket for the Golden State Warriors – the Mavs lost, 127-125.
After a timeout in the third quarter, the Mavericks thought that they had possession of the ball, so the five players on the court went on one side of the court. However, it was actually Golden State’s ball.
With the two teams on opposite ends of the court, the referee gave the ball to Warriors’ Jordan Poole, inbounding underneath his own basket with no Maverick around them.
Poole bounced a pass to Kevon Looney, who dunked it with no issues.
According to Mavs owner Mark Cuban, the refs changed the initial ruling without notifying his team.
“For those wondering about the play with 1:54 to go on the 3rd, let me explain what happened,” Cuban tweeted after the game. “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.”
However, the referee says otherwise.
Before the timeout, the Warriors missed a three-pointer, and when the ball went out of bounds, the referee did rule that it was still Warriors ball.
Shortly after, the same referee pointed toward the other side of the court.
However, that point was to signal a Dallas timeout, not Dallas ball.
“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,” referee Sean Wright said.
Assuming that is the case, Dallas was simply mistaken.
Luka Doncic shared his displeasure toward the end of the game, signaling that the refs were being paid.
This is the 35th protest in NBA history, and only eight have been successful, none since 2008.
The Mavs were able to lead 117-115 with 3:52 to go, but Golden State pulled away late to clinch the road victory.
The two teams were separated by a half-game in the playoff race entering Wednesday. With the win, the Warriors, for now, are the sixth seed, while the Mavs are the ninth seed, requiring a play-in tournament appearance – the top six automatically make the playoffs.