DALLAS – The Dallas Mavericks are planning to file a formal protest to the National Basketball Association (NBA), after claiming that a mistake by referees late in the third quarter led to their 127-125 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night, according to a report by The Athletic.
Referees supposedly changed a call without alerting the Dallas bench, causing the Mavericks to be on the wrong side of the floor during a Golden State inbounds play.
That allowed Warriors centre Kevon Looney to get a wide-open dunk, giving Golden State a 90-87 lead with just under two minutes left in the third period.
“For those wondering about the play with 1min 54sec to go on the third, let me explain what happened. The ref called Mavs ball. The announcer announced it. Then there was a time-out,” Dallas owner Mark Cuban said in a tweet.
“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 two-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.”
Cuban had also filed a protest after a 111-107 road loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Feb 22, 2020.
It remains to be seen what would be done but the Warriors were the better side, as Jonathan Kuminga had a team-high 22 points off the bench, and Draymond Green and Stephen Curry hit key hoops down the stretch for Golden State’s big win.
The result had major short-term ramifications in the Western Conference play-off race, with the sixth-placed Warriors (38-36) not only moving 1½ games up on Dallas (36-37) in ninth but also gaining a tiebreaker advantage by claiming the season series 2-1.
The game was tied at 120-all when Green drove into the heart of the Dallas defence and dropped in a layup while getting fouled by Christian Wood with 1:32 to play.
After Green completed the three-point play, the Mavericks countered quickly to get within one, then got an opportunity to take the lead after a missed three-pointer by Warriors guard Donte DiVincenzo.
But Luka Doncic also misfired on his three-pointer, after which Curry drove for a layup that allowed Golden State to build the lead back to three with 8.5 seconds remaining.
Looney dropped in two clinching free throws with 1.7sec to go, as the Warriors – they had six players to reach double figures in points – finished a five-game trip with consecutive wins after losing the first three games.
Curry had 20 points and a team-high 13 assists for the Warriors, who prevailed despite shooting just 12-for-39 on three-pointers and getting outscored 51-36 from beyond the arc.
Looney also recorded a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, while Jordan Poole finished with 16 points, and Green and DiVincenzo 14 apiece.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr believed that his team deserved the win and that the referee’s call in the third quarter was clear.
“When I saw them (Mavericks) at the other end, I had to stop and think, isn’t this our basket?” he said. “I don’t know what happened, you’d have to ask their side, I thought that it was pretty clear that it was our ball and that’s why I was drawing up a play... I guess they assumed it was their ball.”
In his return from a five-game absence due to a strained thigh, Doncic paced the Mavericks with 30 points and a game-high 17 assists and a team-high seven rebounds.
Reserves Jaden Hardy and Christian Wood had 27 and 19 points respectively for Dallas, who were missing Kyrie Irving, out with a sore right big toe. Reggie Bullock chipped in with 15 points, Dwight Powell 13 and Josh Green 12.