When Mavericks guard Reggie Bullock rose up for a 3-pointer and sank it with 0.1 seconds remaining on Wednesday, the Warriors weren’t worried. They held a 5-point advantage and there’s no such thing as a 6-point shot.
But the “futile” basket probably meant something to Mark Cuban. While the Warriors were ensured a victory – for now – it brought the final margin to 127-125. Two points.
The Mavs owner was livid that earlier in the game, near the end of the third quarter, Kevon Looney dunked in an uncontested ball while the Warriors played 5-on-0 due to a miscommunication between Dallas and the referees. The Mavericks thought it was their ball coming out of a timeout, so they were on the other end of the floor when the refs let the Warriors inbound the ball.
Mavericks coach Jason Kidd and his players looked confused and asked for an explanation, but the refs didn’t overturn the call.
Shortly after the final whistle, Cuban issued a lengthy tweet explaining things from his end, while also calling it a massive mistake by the refereeing crew.
“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.”
Throughout the game, ESPN broadcasters said Cuban planned on filing a protest to the league about the play. Afterwards, Shams Charania of The Athletic confirmed Cuban would follow through with the complaint.
Cuban and the Mavericks will have a 48-hour window to file the complaint, and a five-day window to provide evidence. The league office will then have five days to complete its examination.
While the win kept the Warriors (37-36) in the No. 6 seed, the Mavericks (36-37) dropped into the No. 9 spot with the loss. Both teams have nine games remaining in the regular season and are looking to avoid the dreaded play-in game.
For now, it looks like the Warriors pulled a fast one, but we’ll have to see what happens with the appeal. If the protest is upheld, the Warriors and Mavericks would be forced to reconvene and replay a portion of the game, something that has happened at least six times in NBA history and not since 2008. Cuban and the Mavericks also filed a protest in 2020 but it was denied.