‘Dairy Queen’ in Atlanta: Cuban Trashes Refs After Controversial Mavs Fold

Dalton Trigg

Coming off a blowout win over the Orlando Magic the night before, the Dallas Mavericks (34-23), missing both Luka Doncic (ankle) and Kristaps Porzingis (knee), couldn't hold off Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks (17-41), losing 111-107 on the second night of a back-to-back.

And in the opinion of Mavs owner, they couldn’t hold off the refs, either.

“This is a training issue,” Cuban said following the bizarre ending. “This is a management issue. Is it as bad as back in Dairy Queen? It literally could be worse (than that).”

Dallas held a 16-point lead midway through the second quarter and a nine-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but clutch woes came back to haunt them, yet again, like they have so many times before this season. Young led the Hawks down the stretch, scoring 13 points in the fourth quarter alone and finishing with 25 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. Despite Young's late heroics, his running mate John Collins had an even bigger impact on this one, as he poured in 35 points and 17 rebounds on 13-of-18 shooting.

It didn't take long for the already-shorthanded Mavs to have their depth thinned even more, as Jalen Brunson took a nasty fall of off a hit from Dewayne Dedmon on the first play of the game (which wasn't reviewed for a potential flagrant foul, oddly enough), sprained his shoulder, and didn't return. Brunson lit up the Hawks with 27 points in their previous meeting in Dallas.

Tim Hardaway Jr. and Seth Curry accounted for over half of the Mavs total points in this game. Hardaway Jr. dropped 33 points on his former team, shooting 11-of-22 overall and 6-of-14 from deep, while also dishing out five assists and grabbing four rebounds. Curry scored 22 points -- on 8-of-17 overall and 4-of-9 from three -- to go along with six rebounds and five assists.

After the Mavs went up by 16 points in the second quarter, Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce decided to go with a zone defense, which appeared to rattle Dallas and eventually led to them relinquishing the lead. If that sounds familiar to you, it's because that's exactly what Nick Nurse did in Toronto earlier this season -- with very similar results -- when his fell behind by 30 points to the Mavs.

Although the Mavs themselves have to take responsibility for letting this one get away, there was some drama towards the end of the game that had Cuban irate with the officials, as mentioned earlier. With eight seconds to go in the game, the officials called Dorian Finney-Smith for a goaltend on a Trae Young layup. Since the officials blew the whistle on the goaltend, play should have been stopped at that point. 

After review, the officials overturned the call, giving Finney-Smith the block on Young, but then also gave John Collins the put-back layup ... again, when play technically was stopped after the initial goaltend was called. 

If anything, you'd think a jump ball would've been called in this kind of situation, but it is what it is, and Dallas now moves on ... well, after Cuban finishes blowing off a little steam, that is.

Cuban’s “DQ” remark is a 20-year flashback to the early days of his ownership, when he bitingly said the NBA head of officiating “couldn’t manage a Dairy Queen.”


With the loss, the Mavs were once again, for the fifth time this season, unable to push their record to 13 games over .500. Dallas will now look to get back on track during Monday night's home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves (16-38). Due to a fractured wrist, the Wolves will be without their superstar big man Karl-Anthony Towns in Dallas next week.

And the Mavs? They'll have to get over the feeling that they were opposed by more than just the other five guys in Atlanta.

"Refs have bad games,'' an irate Cuban tweeted. "Crews have bad games. But this isn't a single game issue. This is the same shit that has been going on for 20 years: Hire former refs who think they know how to hire , train and manage. Realize two years later they can't. Repeat.''

Comments (3)
Coach Brick
Coach Brick

That's the worst officiated nba game I've seen in 30 years of watching this league. If they try and issue corrections after that dumpster fire it will take pages. That being said, we folded like a wet tissue yet again when put under any sort of pressure. This team is the opposite of clutch.

No. 1-3

This was not the worst officiated nba game in 30 years but perhaps you don't watch much. 2 easy-to-overturn calls earlier in the game went without an RC challenge. Too often, this year, he either challenges early and then doesn't have the challenge for late game or he ends up with them in his pocket. When you see a bad call, you should challenge it then. But the rule needs to be changed where you get another challenge if you are right. The bad 'out-of-bounds' calls could be fixed the same way tennis fixed it. They should add a 4th ref that stays at one end and only calls the 3 seconds calls on the other end. That would eliminate all the horrible 3 seconds calls where a player gets out and back in without the official noticing. However bad the NBA ref situation is (please don't get me started on downfield blocking), it is nothing to the problems of the NFL officiating. Forget baseball, Mark, just be glad you didn't buy an NFL team.


Bad refs aside, Carlisle has GOT to stop labeling the second night of a B2B as a load management game. Rest KP on the front end and Luka on the back end.