It’s playoff time. In the recent past, that’s often meant Mavericks fans, including their owner, ranting about refereeing.
The Mavericks broke the Curse of Danny Crawford last postseason, winning three of four games officiated by the official many fans held responsible for the Mavs losing 16 of the previous 17 playoff games officiated by him.
Crawford’s assignment to the Game 2 of the Mavs’ first-round series sparked a nationwide controversy. But nobody was talking about Crawford after he worked Game 4 of the West finals, when the Mavs’ rallied from 15 down in the fourth quarter to win in Oklahoma City.
And the Mavs won in Los Angeles with 2006 Finals villain Bennett Salvatore blowing a whistle.
Recent history suggests that there will be some good, ol’ complaining about officiating from the Mavs during this series with the Thunder. Or perhaps it’s just a coincidence that the Mavs’ two most noteworthy outbursts about officiating this season occurred the last two times they played the Thunder.
The NBA office hit the Mavs for a total of $135,000 after those games. Those fines:
"Look, I haven't said a whole lot about the officiating in a long, long time, but I haven't seen it this bad in a long, long time," Cuban said. "Guys miss calls; that's part of the game. You're not always going to have a great crew. Officials have got to learn that's part of the game.
"But these were officials that have been part of the league for years, and it was just off-the-charts bad. And, if no one ever says anything, nothing ever happens."
*Carlisle got fined $35,000 for kicking the ball in the stands while frustrated by a no-call in that game, drawing his second technical foul of the night.
“That can’t happen,” Carlisle said after opening his postgame press conference by apologizing for the incident. “My intent was not to kick it into the stands, I was trying to kick it to the referee, but I’m not a very good kick. But that can’t happen; the officials made the right call on that one. That’s a regrettable situation.”
*Jason Kidd got fined $25,000 for complaining about the defending champions getting a season-long lack of respect from the referees after the Mavs’ March 5 loss in Oklahoma City.
The Thunder had a 33-10 advantage in free throws attempted with the crew of Tom Washington, Brian Forte and Pat Fraher calling the game. The Mavs were especially upset about a critical, questionable foul call on Ian Mahinmi that sent Serge Ibaka to the line for the go-ahead free throws with 46.2 seconds remaining.
"We don't get the benefit of the whistle," said Kidd, who infamously called a crew that included Washington “the three blind mice” after a one-point loss to the Pistons while playing with the Nets in 2006. "I don't think we're looked upon as champions, but that's a whole other story. Dirk [Nowitzki] should live at the line if they would call it the way it's supposed to be. But he doesn't."
On a related note, the Game 1 officiating crew will be Joey Crawford, Tony Brothers and David Guthrie with Bennie Adams serving as the alternate.