Warriors-Mavs hinged on an incredibly funny play


By the end of Wednesday night’s rollicking Warriors-Mavericks game, the Mavs reached a conclusion: The refs were paid off. 

After all, Golden State had won two straight road games, something they had not done since literally the NBA Finals last summer.

Luka Doncic made the universal “money” gesture at the refs after a no-call on Draymond Green clinched a badly needed 127-125 win for the Warriors.

Doncic will surely be fined for one of the most brazen complaints about officiating you’ll see. But that was overshadowed by a far stranger play late in the third quarter that ended up providing the margin in a two-point Warriors win. Coming out of a timeout, the Mavericks lined up on the wrong side of the court, and Jordan Poole inbounded to Kevon Looney for an uncontested dunk, certainly the easiest basket of this season and maybe of any.

Dallas was furious after the game, claiming that the officials told them it was their ball and then reversed the call without informing them. But even that excuse only half adds up. Why would the Mavs be inbounding from that end when the ball went out of bounds under their basket? Video clearly shows an official signal that it was Warriors ball before signaling for the Mavs’ timeout. That’s what the officials said happened as well.

“Initially on the floor the original signal was in fact Golden State ball, as can be seen on video,” crew chief Sean Wright told the pool reporter.

On Twitter, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban called it the “worst officiating non call mistake possibly in the history of the NBA,” claiming that “the ref called Mavs ball.” Cuban told reporters that he’s filing an official protest; the NBA hasn’t seen a successful one in 15 years.

The play got a giggle out of the normally staid Looney after the game. Warriors coach Steve Kerr confirmed he thought it was his team’s ball all along, saying that he drew up an inbounds play during the timeout. “I thought it was pretty clear that it was our ball,” Kerr said. “I guess they assumed that it was their ball.”

Steph Curry had the same experience. “It was weird, but it was clear what was going on from our standpoint,” Curry said.

Whatever you want to credit it to, it was an absolutely critical win for the Warriors. At 38-36, they’re in sixth in the West, a game ahead of the play-in. And the win clinched the tiebreaker against the Mavericks, which could come into play in a crowded Western Conference playoff picture.


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