Why Mavericks bizarre play that resulted in protest is microcosm of their season

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Golden State Warriors 127-125 on Wednesday night in their most important game of the season. Golden State secured a key tiebreaker over Dallas and picked up a crucial game in the standings. Luka Doncic returned from a five-game absence and had a monster double-double, but it was not enough.

A win would have put Dallas in the driver’s seat to finish in the top six in the Western Conference. The loss puts their postseason hopes in doubt. The Mavs could legitimately fall out of the Play-In Tournament. They were without Kyrie Irving and Tim Hardaway Jr. on March 22, but the Warriors struggled to win on the road all season. Dallas let one slip away, and it was their most important contest of the year.

The Mavs are protesting the game because of a bizarre play in the third quarter. It resulted in Golden State getting an uncontested basket as nobody, including one of the referees seemed to be sure what was happening. Here is a look at why that play was a microcosm of the Mavericks' season.

Why Dallas Mavericks' bizarre play that resulted in protest is a microcosm of their season

Mavs owner Mark Cuban explained the play in question in detail on Twitter following the contest.

Supporters can watch the play here, but plenty was clearly amiss. Dallas was in no position for play to begin, and the Warriors took advantage. The Mavs are protesting, but their odds of winning are not strong. The protest will likely cost Cuban $10,000 plus a hefty fine, but the officials clearly made an error. Ultimately, the ball went to the correct team, but Dallas should have had a chance to defend the inbounds pass.

It has been a rough season for Dallas that got worse with Wednesday’s loss. The Mavericks are below .500, and they had plenty of chances to defeat the Warriors after the bizarre play. Dallas lost, but the reason for the protest is a microcosm of the year.

A miscommunication resulted in a laughable play. That has happened to the Mavericks frequently this season as they lack rebounding and rim protection. Dallas gives up too many easy baskets and allows offensive rebounds that turn into free buckets. This miscommunication was with the referees on Mach, but the Mavs have it often on their own team.

There was zero defense on the bizarre play too, which often happens. Dallas must defend better if they want to make the playoffs and have any chance to win when they get there. The Mavericks allowed 127 points on Wednesday night, and their defense continues to be porous.

The ball clearly went off Justin Holiday, so Dallas ultimately had a lapse in judgment. They should have known it was Golden State’s ball. There was 100 percent a foul by Kevon Looney on the play that went uncalled, but that has no bearing on the review. There was a timeout, so Dallas should have figured out their defense during the stoppage and been ready to get a stop.

The Mavs also did not execute in a critical situation, which has been a theme all season. They have struggled in the clutch and at executing after stoppages. Dallas has not shined in the biggest situations, and it happened again on Wednesday night.

Mostly, it has been a weird season for the Dallas Mavericks. They have inexplicably lost a lot of games. There have been massive leads blown and several losses to teams without their two or three best players, so why would their most important game not come down to another bizarre and somewhat unexplainable moment?

The Dallas Mavericks will lose this protest. The NBA has only overturned six in league history, and the referee clearly signaled it was Golden State ball after the play.

This could be a moment that brings the team together, though. The West is jumbled, and the Mavs still have nine games remaining in the regular season. If they get hot now, they will have a shot to make a deep playoff run. Can the Dallas Mavericks use this bizarre play as a springboard? Stay tuned to find out.

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