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.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 23, 2023
The point in contention is a play late in the third quarter where the Mavericks believed they were awarded the ball on a turnover, only to have the referees give the ball to the Warriors. The Mavericks were set up on the Golden State end of the court, leaving the Warriors no resistance when the inbounded the ball under the Dallas basket:
This is one of the greatest moments in NBA history. pic.twitter.com/qOxPxWJ1xO— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) March 23, 2023
It’s an odd sequence, one that became especially important considering the Mavericks lost the game by only two points. Most people watching the game, including the ESPN broadcast, were confused by what happened. Mark Cuban took to Twitter to explain the Mavericks’ case:
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…— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) March 23, 2023
You could rightly criticize the Mavericks for not paying attention to what was happening on the other end of the floor. Why didn’t they react once they saw the Warriors setting up to inbound the ball? Head coach Jason Kidd put the onus on the officials after the game.
“If there’s confusion, it’s easy to just come in and blow the whistle and get us restarted,” Kidd said. “Because it was confusion. Understanding that we thought it was our ball, the referee pointed towards our bench. That was the signal of the timeout, but there was confusion on the play before it even started with whose ball it was because he pointed, I thought, to us first. Then he changed it and then went to a timeout, and pointed to us.”
The officials attempted to clear things up in the pool report. “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 Mavericks.”
It’s a truly bizarre sequence, and while it’s easy to say it cost the Mavericks the game, plenty of other things went wrong that Dallas could’ve controlled. The Warriors annihilated them in the paint and outhustled them all game long. The inbounds play was odd, but it didn’t cost the Mavericks the game.