The Mavericks' heartbreaking overtime loss to the Warriors Tuesday night included a missed goaltending call that would have given Dallas a lead with 16 seconds remaining.
On Wednesday, the NBA acknowledged that referees should have called Jermaine O'Neal for goaltending when he grabbed Monta Ellis' soft layup attempt. The play occurred with the game tied, 120-120. Stephen Curry followed the block with a game-winning 21-footer with just 0.1 second left.
“I think his layup has a chance to get to the rim, and if that’s the case, you can’t just get it out of the air,” Nowitzki said. “To me, that’s a goaltend. I asked the referees what happened. The explanation was that the ball was two feet short. If that’s the case, then he can get it out of the air, but where I was from, I think it had a chance to at least hit the rim. That’s a goaltend to me.”
O’Neal insisted that the block was legal.
“It was like a second away from goaltending, if you're too late, and I was on top of it,” said O’Neal, noting that Ellis dunked on him to finish an almost identical drive from the right wing in the fourth quarter. “I blocked it, grabbed it and outlet it. There's no way they could have called that.
“When your hand is on top of the ball, that's a good block. I caught it like this, I didn't bat it, I caught it like this, so there's no way they could have called it goaltending.”
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban reportedly was furious following the loss that could hamper his team's chances in a tight three-team race for the last Western Conference playoff berth. Cuban went on the record a year ago as wanting the NBA to include goaltending among calls reviewable via replay.
Rod Thorn, NBA President, Basketball Operations, issued the following statement today regarding a non-call during overtime of the Golden State Warriors’ 122-120 win over the Dallas Mavericks on April 1, at American Airlines Center:
“Upon review at the league office, we have found that a shot taken by Dallas’ Monta Ellis with 16.0 seconds remaining in overtime was on the way down when initially contacted and ruled a block by Golden State’s Jermaine O’Neal, and should have been ruled a goaltend. The exact trajectory of the ball when touched was impossible to ascertain with the naked eye, and the play was not reviewable.”