The Dallas Mavericks are unhappy with the way that a particular play during their 127-125 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night was officiated, and they plan to a formal protest with the NBA.
The play occurred after a timeout was called late in the third quarter of the contest. After the break, the Mavericks lined up on the far end of the floor as if it was their possession, while the Warriors were given the ball to inbound on the other end. The Mavs were clearly confused, as the play resulted in a wide open basket for Kevon Looney.
The Mavs forgot to play defense 😂 pic.twitter.com/S6q9ByrTb7— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) March 23, 2023
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban pointed out that two officials are on the side of the floor where the Warriors are, while another official is on the side where the Mavericks are, suggesting that even the referees were confused about the situation.
The Mavericks were understandably upset and protested at the time, but the game kept going. Ultimately, the Warriors went on to win the game by two, so that free basket they were granted looms large -- even though there were still 14 minutes left in regulation. After the game, Cuban took to Twitter to share an explanation for what went down, as he understood it. Here's what he had to say:
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.
And here's the postgame explanation from crew chief Sean 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."
So, Wright is saying that the referee involved in the play first signaled that the ball belonged to Golden State and then signaled that the Mavericks had called timeout, which is indeed correct upon further review:
Here’s the out of bounds call that led to Warriors uncontested dunk. Ref signals Warriors ball and then appears to point for a timeout (which could have confused Mavs). Still, no good explanation why Mavs weren’t setup on the right side of floor after the timeout. pic.twitter.com/NMrFdyP1RO— Brian Robb (@BrianTRobb) March 23, 2023
Based on this response from Wright, it certainly seems like the referee's stance is that it was Dallas who was in the wrong, not them, even though Cuban clearly disagrees. The Mavericks now have 48 hours to officially file the protest with the league's office. A protest fee of $10,000 must be included. The fee will only be reimbursed if the protest is deemed successful. Once commissioner Adam Silver acknowledges receipt of the protest, the Grizzlies and Warriors will both have five days to provide any corroborating evidence. Silver will then make a final determination.
The loss to Golden State dropped Dallas to below .500 (36-37) on the season. They now sit ninth place in the Western Conference -- though just two games behind the sixth-place Warriors and a half-game out of missing the play-in tournament entirely -- with just a few weeks remaining in the regular season.