Luka Dončić found himself on the receiving end of an ironic punishment from the NBA on Friday in the wake of the Mavericks star taking aim at officials with a “money” taunt late in Wednesday’s controversial 127–125 home loss to the Warriors.
The NBA announced Dončić has been fined $35,000 for “directing an inappropriate and unprofessional gesture toward a game official” in the closing moments of Wednesday’s matchup. Dončić’s tiff with the officiating crew occurred with 1.7 seconds remaining in regulation and Dallas trailing Golden State, 125–122.
Dončić attempted to shrink the deficit with a layup attempt against Draymond Green deep in the paint at the 3.2-second mark in the fourth quarter, but missed the shot after a tough contest. The four-time All-Star took umbrage with Green’s defense on the crucial play and proceeded to let the officials know it as he walked down the floor by rubbing his fingers together in a reference to money.
Dončić, who did not receive a technical foul for the gesture, maintained a look of frustration as the Warriors would go on to make two free throws to ice the game.
Wednesday’s loss proved to be an all-around frustrating night for Dončić and the Mavs, who lost a pivotal contest despite a masterful 30-point, seven-rebound and 17-assist effort by the 24-year-old guard. It was announced after the game that Dallas planned to file an official protest with the NBA for a baffling sequence in the third quarter that led to a Warriors basket.
Given the tight race for playoff positioning in the West, Dončić clearly was not pleased with not having the opportunity to propel the Mavericks to a win. It’s also worth noting that Dončić has 15 technical fouls on the season, and would earn an automatic one-game suspension if he nets one more.
As of Friday, the Mavericks (36–37) sit in eighth place in the Western Conference with nine games remaining on their schedule. Dallas is currently 0.5 games behind the No. 7 seed Timberwolves (37–37), 1.5 games behind the No. 6 seed Warriors (38–36) and 2.5 games behind the No. 5 Clippers (39–35) and No. 4 Suns (38–34).