Clearing the Air on Warriors vs Mavs Controversy


In arguably a must-win game for the Warriors on the road, against the Mavericks who are also gunning for positioning in the Western Conference, the Warriors prevailed, led by Jonathan Kuminga, Steph Curry, and others. Kuminga has been playing fantastically as of late, cutting at the right times, knocking down threes, and playing tough, physical defense. With the aggressive nature in which the Mavericks were guarding Steph, he took more of a backseat in the scoring development, but his offensive contributions were nonetheless invaluable with his off-ball movement and dimes. The Warriors won 127-125 in what was one of the games of the year, allowing them to (for now) sit above the play-in, but more importantly, win the season series over the Mavericks, who are in a similar position. However, the main storyline that came from the game took place late in the third, involving both teams, the referees, and even Mark Cuban.

With a minute left in the third, Warriors forward Anthony Lamb took a top-of-the-key three but missed, and center Kevon Looney and Mavericks forward Justin Holiday were fighting for the rebound. Holiday touched it last, resulting in Warriors' ball. The confusing part came right after, where the referee pointed in the direction of the Warriors' basket, signaling that it was their ball, but immediately pointed in the other direction. Supposedly, the referee's second signal was to indicate that the Mavericks called timeout, but the Mavericks thought that the signal meant that it was Mavericks' ball. Both teams went into their respective huddles, but after the timeout, the Warriors players lined up under their own baskets while the Maveircsk lined up under theirs. The referee with the ball gave it to Jordan Poole, who realized that the Mavericks were on the wrong side of the court, and he immediately passed it to Kevon Looney for the easiest basket of his life. That two extra points that the Warriors got proved to be crucial, as they eventually won by two. Mark Cuban, the owner of the Mavericks, decided to submit a formal protest to the NBA following the incident, and the decisions for his protest are to be determined. However, the last successful NBA protest took place in the late 2000s, and when taking a deep dive into the situation, Cuban's protest probably will not be successful. 

Cuban was saying, in a series of tweets, that the referees did not tell the Mavericks anything about who had the ball, but during the inbound, there were literally 0 Mavericks players on the Warriors' side. If it were Mavericks ball, wouldn't there at least be an inbounder from the Mavericks, standing next to the referees? Also, it is common courtesy for the referees to point toward the scorers' table when a team calls timeout, and it just so happened to be that the Mavericks' basket was in the same direction, making it look like the ref was signaling Mavericks' ball. However, the referee clearly indicated that it was Warriors' basketball first, and all the Mavericks players were there to see it. And finally, the two points did not really matter anyways. The Mavericks failed to stop the passing of Steph Curry and the offense of the Warriors throughout the fourth following the incident, and though it did look like the Warriors won by two points, in reality, they should have won by 5. The Mavs only scored 125 because Reggie Bullock decided to chuck up a three at the end of regulation which went in. With all these factors in mind, Cuban's protest will most likely fail, and for the Warriors, it is a win that points them to another step in the right direction. 

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