NBA referees miss calls every game. It’s part of the human aspect of their job. However, when their calls positively or negatively influence the outcome of a game’s outcome, they make headlines.
Dallas Mavericks governor Mark Cuban is particularly peeved about one decision the referees made as his team played the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.
With under two minutes to play in the third quarter, the Warriors inbounded the ball under their basket, leading to a Kevon Looney dunk. No Mavericks were on that side of the court. Cuban says the referees are to blame.
“For those wondering about the play with 1:54 to go on the 3rd, let me explain what happened,” Cuban tweeted. “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 noncall mistake possibly in the history of the NBA. All they had to do was tell us, and they didn’t.”
Here’s the play:
It’s apparent that the Mavericks are confused and don’t know what’s happening during this possession. They’re all down at their end of the court. The same can be said about the Warriors, as Looney turns around and runs back into the play before scoring.
Dallas wound up losing the game by two points, 127-125, at home to one of the worst road teams in the league. The play the Cuban is signaling weighs heavily on the game’s outcome, and it isn’t just Cuban looking for answers.
“It wasn’t really explained,” Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said. “I think there’s a lot of confusion. A lot of people were out of position. The court was split. We were on one side, and the Warriors were on another. You have a referee on the baseline — Mike [Smith] was on the baseline — so I would assume Mike thought it was our ball, too. … If there’s confusion, it’s easy to blow the whistle and get us restarted because there was confusion.”
“It’s correctable, but you first have to admit there was a mistake,” Kidd continued. “But there wasn’t, and we have to continue to keep playing.”
Crew chief Sean Wright didn’t indicate there was any such confusion with the officiating crew. He provided a succinct pool report response supporting his team’s call.
“Initially on the floor, the original signal was, in fact, Golden State ball as this can be seen on video,” Wright told Tim Cato of The Athletic. “There is a second signal, but that signal is for a mandatory timeout that was due to the Mavs.”
Whether or not Cuban’s challenge bears fruit, the Mavericks’ loss is meaningful. The Warriors, also playing for playoff seeding, now hold a tiebreaker over the Mavs. With the loss, Dallas also drops in the standings into the ninth seed, tied with the Utah Jazz and a half-game ahead of the tenth-seed Los Angeles Lakers.