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Around the NBA: Mark Cuban vs. the refs, injury updates on PG, Zion, Ja Morant’s return

The Mavericks-Warriors game produced one of the weirdest plays we’ve ever seen and more from around the NBA.

Golden State Warriors v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images

The Sixers had a weird night Wednesday. They crushed the Bulls without James Harden, but Joel Embiid sat out the second half and wasn’t even on the bench. After a complete meltdown from Sixers Twitter, the team provided an update late in the third quarter ... then another as the game was ending.

The good news: the team is hoping to have its superstar duo available when the Sixers play the Warriors Friday night.

But they weren’t even at the center of the weirdest thing that happened in The Association last night. Let’s take a look around the NBA.

Mavericks plan to file formal protest after loss to Warriors

Mark Cuban vs. NBA officiating. As storied a rivalry as any.

The Warriors-Mavericks game Wednesday produced one of the strangest sequences we’ve ever seen. Coming out of a timeout, there was apparently confusion as to whose ball it was. The Mavericks thought it was theirs.

It was not.

Dallas would go on to lose the game, 127-125. Pretty brutal for your opponent to get gifted two points in a game you lose by that margin.

Cuban took to Twitter to explain what the Mavericks believe happened.

The pool reporter got the perspective of the officiating crew:

Dallas is expected to file a formal protest of the game, but don’t expect much to come of that.

Ja Morant makes his return

Ja Morant’s eight-game suspension ended earlier this week. The All-Star guard was suspended for “conduct detrimental to the league” after he was seen in an Instagram video brandishing a gun in a Denver-area strip club. He was eligible to return Monday but was held out with a “return to competition reconditioning” designation.

The 23-year-old came off the bench for the first time in his career Wednesday in a win over the Rockets. Morant finished with 17 points and five assists in just under 24 minutes of action.

He did not lose his athleticism during his absence.

Morant is one of the brightest young stars in the league. Let’s hope he’s learned his lesson and continues his career without incident.

Latest on Paul George, Zion Williamson injuries

The Sixers are not the only team dealing with injuries to stars at the worst possible time.

The Clippers’ Paul George took a nasty fall late in L.A.’s loss to the Thunder Tuesday.

Initial reports indicate that PG probably got lucky it wasn’t more severe, but it will still cost him the rest of the regular season.

The Clippers have handled their stars — George and Kawhi Leonard — about as carefully as any team possibly could. The Clips are clinging to the fifth seed, but sit just two games up on the Mavericks and Lakers, both currently in play-in spots, in the jumbled West.

The Pelicans are currently on the outside looking in at 12th, and they still don’t have a clear timetable for when/if star forward Zion Williamson could return.

Williamson first tweaked the hamstring in a road game against the Sixers on Jan. 2. He’s missed New Orleans’ last 35 games. The Pelicans have gone 12-23 over that stretch and plummeted down the standings.

Frankly speaking, it sucks to see all these injuries to such great players right before the playoffs begin.

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