DALLAS -- On second thought, don’t worry, Mavericks fans. Consider it good news that Danny Crawford will work Game 2.
That might not seem like it makes any sense whatsoever. After all, the Mavs have lost 16 of the last 17 games Crawford has worked in the playoffs, including a few heartbreakers during a six-game losing streak.
But think about the microscope that Crawford will be operating under at the American Airlines Center. His assignment to this game is national news. Every questionable call he makes will be magnified and examined -- by media, bloggers, fans, Mark Cuban and the NBA office, one would assume.
“Oh, so you guys are going to print that and hope that …,” Portland coach Nate McMillan said when informed of the Mavs’ record with Crawford working.
McMillan didn’t finish the sentence. Not to put words in McMillan’s mouth, but a fitting ending would have been, “he’ll feel pressure not to make calls against the Mavs.”
With the spotlight shining on Crawford, he can’t afford to fuel the conspiracy theory that he has an anti-Mavs bias. If Crawford makes calls to fuel that fire, it just might cause him to be fired. An NBA spokesman did not reply to an emailed question about whether the league has reviewed the Dallas playoff games officiated by Crawford, but rest assured Cuban has at least brought the issue to the attention of the commissioner and other authorities.
(That conspiracy theory was confirmed by disgraced ref Tim Donaghy, whose words must be taken with a boulder of salt, of course. The ex-con told ESPN 103.3’s Galloway and Company during an appearance last season that Crawford bragged about the Mavs’ misery in games he worked, information that Donaghy considered a gambling guide. Oh, and Donaghy will be back on GAC at 5 p.m. today.)
It’d be crazy for Crawford to give any additional ammo that he’s crooked when it comes to the Mavs. With this kind of pressure, I’ll predict Crawford calls it straight and the players decide the outcome.
I'm not the only one thinking this way, by the way. I changed my mind after a conversation with a Mavs insider.