DALLAS — Coach Steve Kerr had to do a double take after a timeout late in the third quarter of Wednesday’s pivotal Western Conference showdown.
All five Dallas players were on the opposite side of the court, allowing Kevon Looney to throw down an uncontested basket.
“It was my best ATO of the year,” Kerr said with a smile. “It worked brilliantly just the way we got organized and confused them.”
The confusing sequence drew ire from Mavericks owner Mark Cuban who plan to file a protest of the Warriors’ 127-125 win over the Mavericks, according to ESPN.
With 1:54 left in the third, Jordan Poole inbounded the ball to Looney who dunked it for a quick and easy two-point play.
“I was just glad JP passed to me,” Looney said. “I needed that to get to my double-double.”
Kerr wasn’t sure what caused the confusion.
“I had to stop and think, ‘Wait, aren’t we — isn’t this our basket?’ Because I had drawn up a play for an… underneath baseline out-of-bounds. And when they were down at the other end, I had to stop and think is this right?” Kerr said. “I don’t know what happened.
“I thought it was pretty clear it was our ball and that’s why I was drawing up a play out of bounds on the baseline but they all lined up at the other end, I guess they assumed it was their ball.”
Cuban took to Twitter after the game, which gave the Warriors’ the head-to-head tiebreaker.
“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.”
Crew Chief Sean Wright said it was always Warriors ball.
“Initially on the floor, the original signal was in fact Golden State ball as this can be seen on video,” he told a pool reporter. “There is a second signal but that signal is for a mandatory timeout that was due to the Mavs.”