The Dallas Mavericks are filing a protest after a “miscommunication” in the third quarter of Wednesday’s loss to the Golden State Warriors.
With 1:54 left in the quarter, the ball went out of bounds, and the referee on the baseline appeared to signal that it was the Warriors’ ball. However, the referee also apparently quickly signaled for a Mavericks timeout, which caused confusion over who had possession.
When play resumed, the Mavericks lined up like they had the ball, but the officials gave it to the Warriors, who got a wide-open dunk to take a two-point lead.
According to the Mavericks’ version of events, the referee had signaled that it was their ball, but after the timeout changed the call without telling the team, resulting in the “Worst officiating non call mistake possibly in the history of the NBA.”
Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said everyone on the court was confused about the call, and he did not get an explanation.
“It wasn’t really explained,” Kidd said in a postgame press conference. “I think there was a lot of confusion, a lot of people were out of position. … If there’s confusion, it’s easy to just come in and blow the whistle and get us restarted — because there was confusion. We thought it was our ball. The referee pointed towards our bench but that was a signal of the timeout.”
“There was confusion on the play before it even started with whose ball it was,” Kidd added. “He pointed, I thought, to us first and then he changed it. Then it went to a timeout and pointed to us. … There were quite a few people out of position on that play. It’s easy, it’s correctable, but you first have to admit there was a mistake. But there wasn’t; we have to continue to keep playing.”
Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, who returned from an injury to play on Wednesday, agreed there needed to be more communication.
“It was kind of weird,” Doncic told the media after the game. “I think the refs called it correctly the first time, but when we came out of the timeout, I think the ref on the sideline thought it was our ball. I think in those situations, they needed to group up. They could have waited because there was a ref all the way on our side.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will rule in the protest based on the evidence he receives. The Mavericks were the most recent team to protest a game, losing a claim in 2020.
According to ESPN, the NBA has not had a successful protest since 2008.