The Mavericks plan to file an official protest with the league office after tonight’s 127-125 loss to the Warriors, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The protest is in response to an alleged officiating error late in the third quarter that led to an uncontested basket for Golden State (video link from The Athletic). All five Dallas players were on the opposite side of the court as the Warriors inbounded the ball, resulting in an easy dunk for Kevon Looney.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban provided an explanation of the play (via Twitter), claiming the referees informed his team that it would have the ball after a stoppage in play.
“For those wondering about the play with 1:54 to go on the 3rd, let me explain what happened,” Cuban wrote. “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.”
Mavericks coach Jason Kidd also addressed the play in his post-game press conference, claiming that officials didn’t handle the situation properly (Twitter link from Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News).
“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.”
In a tweet from the league, crew chief Sean Wright explained why officials handled the play the way they did.
“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.”
Under NBA rules, notice of the protest must be submitted to the commissioner’s office within 48 hours of the end of the game. Both teams will have five days to submit evidence to the NBA after the protest is filed, and commissioner Adam Silver will then have an additional five days to make a ruling.
No team has been successful in protesting a game since 2008, notes NBA writer Marc Stein (Twitter link).