No owner in the NBA is more critical of the referees than Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, and he's accumulated a significant number of fines over the years. He hasn't been as vocal the past few years, but all it takes is for one play to get him riled back up again. That happened in Dallas' loss to the Atlanta Hawks last Saturday when an inadvertent whistle allowed Hawks center John Collins to get an easy bucket at the rim to increase Atlanta's lead to 111-107.
After the game, Cuban took to Twitter to criticize the officiating in a series of tweets, taking aim at that specific play that essentially gave the win to the Hawks. The Mavericks already officially filed a petition against the ending of that game on Sunday, citing a "misapplication of the rules," and are asking for the final 9.7 seconds to be replayed with Atlanta up 109-107, as reported by the New York Times' Marc Stein. According to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon of ESPN, the league is going to fully review the entire matter -- including the petition -- before deciding on any punishment for Cuban.
Most recently, the Mavs' outspoken owner made a visit on SiriusXM NBA radio where he revisited his displeasure with the referees, and was also pretty confident in his team's odds of winning the petition.
"Everybody presumes that there's no chance you ever win a protest, but I think we have a really good chance," Cuban said.
He also mentioned how the team would handle the situation if the ruling does end in their favor.
"I think we tell them that if it didn't impact the playoff standings, we don't care if we replay it or not, because there'd be no point to it," Cuban said. "But if it comes out the way we hope it will, they'll start the game from the 9.5 seconds left to go with a center-court jump ball and Mavs down by two."
On the play in question, the referees originally called goaltending on Trae Young's layup, but after the whistle was blown Collins laid the ball in. When the officials went to review the play they overturned the call, saying it was not a goaltend, but that Collins basket still stood because of continuation rules.
This is the second time this season that a team has protested the ending of a game, with the Houston Rockets filing a similar petition when referees missed a clear dunk by James Harden that wound up costing Houston the game. by the league office, but Cuban seems to think the Mavericks will have better luck.
Stein reported that Dallas is also asking the league to look at the first possession of the game, where Mavs guard Jalen Brunson was fouled hard by Dewayne Dedmon that resulted in a separated shoulder for Brunson. The Mavericks reportedly believe that the play should have been reviewed by officials and that league rules should have prevented Collins' decisive basket from standing.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has ruling power over these petitions, and if he were to rule in favor of the Mavericks it would be an unprecedented situation. If that were to happen, it would be interesting to see how this would play out and when, considering NBA scheduling is already pretty tight as is. However, if this one game does impact playoff standings and Cuban doesn't get what he wants, he'll likely only make a bigger stink about it later on down the road.