Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has never been shy about criticizing the NBA’s officiating. But he had good reason to be mad Wednesday night, if what he wrote on Twitter is to be believed.
In a bizarre scene late in the third quarter of Wednesday’s game between the Mavs and Golden State Warriors in Dallas, Warriors forward Kevon Looney scored the easiest two points you’ll ever see. Looney received an inbounds pass and scored a layup without a single Mavericks defender in the vicinity.
The reason, according to Cuban, is because the Mavericks were told it was their ball, so players were on the other side of the court. Cuban claims the refs changed the call during a timeout and never told the Mavericks, giving the Warriors the ball and a crucial two points in what turned out to be a 127-125 loss after the Mavs’ Reggie Bullock hit a 3-pointer with .1 seconds to go.
“Never said a word to us,” Cuban wrote. “They got an easy (basket). 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.”
In a pool report after the game, crew chief Sean Wright seemed to dispute Cuban’s notion.
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“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.”
According to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, Cuban said the Mavs would file a formal protest with the NBA.
According to NBA rules, a written protest must be filed within 48 hours of the end of the game, and the Warriors would then have five days to respond and submit their own evidence. Commissioner Adam Silver then has another five days to issue a ruling.
Cuban later noted that only two refs were on the same side of the court as the Warriors.
“The other ref obviously thought it was our ball as well,” Cuban wrote on Twitter.
Dallas coach Jason Kidd shared a similar thought in his postgame media availability. Kidd contended that official Michael Smith must have thought the Mavericks had possession because he was on the same end of the floor as the Mavs.
“There was quite a few people out of position,” Kidd said. “It’s correctable, but you first have to admit there was a mistake.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said his first reaction was to question whether his team was shooting on the end where they lined up. But that reaction didn’t last long.
“When they were down at the other end, I had to stop and think, ‘Is this right?’” Kerr said. “I thought it was pretty clear that it was our ball, and that’s why I was drawing up a play out of bounds on the baseline.”
Contributing: Associated Press