The Golden State Warriors defeated the Dallas Mavericks by a couple of points on Wednesday and the home team cried foul, with intent to contest the victory.
Confusion over which team was in possession of the ball after a third-quarter timeout, which led to an unguarded dunk by Dubs center Kevon Looney off of an in-bounds pass, is the basis for a formal protest to the NBA from the Mavericks on the outcome of their 127-125 defeat.
Warriors on NBC Sports Bay Area shared video of the play via Twitter on Wednesday night, March 22.
“The Mavs forgot to play defense 😂,” the video caption said.
Multiple members of the Warriors were asked about the situation during the postgame press conference, and they responded in good humor.
“I didn’t know what was going on,” Looney said. “I’m just glad JP (Jordan Poole) passed it to me because all of us were open. I needed that to get my double-double, so thank you JP.”
Golden State head coach Steve Kerr also initially responded with a joke.
“Number one, it was my best ATO (after timeout) of the year,” Kerr told reporters. “It worked brilliantly, just the way we got organized and confused them.”
Eventually, Kerr gave his authentic take on the matter.
When I saw them at the other end, I had to stop and think, “Wait, isn’t this our basket?” Because I had drawn up a play for an underneath, baseline out-of-bounds [play]. When they were down at the other end, I had to stop and think, “Is this right?” So I don’t know what happened. You’d have to ask their side.
I thought it was pretty clear that it was our ball. That’s why I was drawing up a play out of bounds on the baseline. But they all lined up at the other end. I guess they assumed it was their ball.
Cuban Slams Refs For Changing Call, Failing to Communicate
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported after the game that Dallas intended to file a complaint with the league based on the incident.
“The Dallas Mavericks plan to file to the NBA a formal protest of their 127-125 loss to the Golden State Warriors tonight, with focus on alleged referee mistake that led to two free Warriors points late in the third quarter, source tells @TheAthletic @Stadium,” Charania tweeted.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban also took to Twitter to share his thoughts on a play that happened nearly 14 game-minutes shy of the final whistle, but also represented the exact point-differential on the scoreboard when all was said and done.
For those wondering about the play with 1:54 to go [in] the 3rd, let me explain what happened. The ref called Mavs’ ball. The announcer announced it. Then there was a timeout. During the timeout, 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.
Tim Cato of The Athletic interviewed crew chief Sean Wright for the game’s Pool Report, in which Wright explained the events from the referees’ perspective.
“Initially on the floor the original signal was, in fact, Golden State ball, as this can be seen on video,” Wright said. “There is a second signal, but that signal is for a mandatory timeout that was due to the Mavs.”
Warriors’ Win Over Mavericks Huge For West Playoff Seeding
The Warriors’ win over the Mavericks was massive for a couple of reasons. First, and slightly less importantly, it marks the Dubs’ second straight road victory after 11 consecutive losses away from home. Golden State is the fourth-worst road team in the NBA this season with a record of 9-29, per ESPN.
Secondly, the victory moved the Warriors to 38-36 on the season, placing them in sole possession of the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference with eight games remaining. In the current playoff format, the top six seeds in each conference earn automatic entry into the first round, while the next four seeds battle it out for the final two spots via the NBA Play-In Tournament.
The Mavericks fell to 36-37 with the loss, placing them in a tie for ninth-place in the West with the Los Angeles Lakers, though the Mavs hold the tiebreaker. Had Dallas won on Wednesday night, the Mavericks would hold the six-seed outright with a record of 37-36 and a half-game lead over both the Warriors and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Pelicans are each a half-game behind Dallas and Los Angeles for the final play-in spots.