Dallas Mavericks guard Monta Ellis drove past Klay Thompson and shot a floater over the help defense of Warriors center Jermaine O'Neal on Tuesday night. O'Neal got a mitt on the shot attempt and grabbed the defensive rebound, but the NBA admitted Wednesday that the officials should have called a goaltend on the play.
"The exact trajectory of the ball when touched was impossible to ascertain with the naked eye, and the play was not reviewable," the NBA said in an official statement.
The painful context from the Mavs' perspective was that the sequence came during a 120-all tie in overtime and with just 16 seconds left. O'Neal's play that was ruled a block gave Warriors guard Stephen Curry the game-winning shot attempt, which dropped. Curry finished with 23 points and 10 assists.
The result of the 122-120 Dallas loss on Tuesday went beyond the two teams. The Mavs fell to 44-31 on the year, a painful blow with Memphis and Phoenix -- in the final two playoff slots -- holding a half-game lead on the Mavericks heading into Wednesday night. Golden State, meanwhile, used the home win to create a two-game buffer between itself and both the Grizzlies and Suns.