Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Ref Danny Crawford comes, goes quietly
By Jeff Caplan
DALLAS -- Chalk it up. The Dallas Mavericks are now 3-16 in the playoffs when referee Danny Crawford is on the floor.
There was plenty of pregame chatter about Crawford coming to town as the lead official for Tuesday's pivotal Game 2 against the Portland Trail Blazers. In the end, Crawford exited with a solid, non-controversial performance and the Mavs got a needed victory, 101-89, to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
Dallas had lost 16 of 17 and six in a row with Crawford blowing the whistle.
"Didn't really care for it," Jason Terry said of all the Crawford talk preceding Game 2. "That's not any of our concern. It's something we can't control. Hey, there's good refs all throughout this league. You don't ever know who you're going to get.
"I didn't even know he was out there."
Terry's last statement is probably the most pleasing to Crawford, who was not involved in really the only controversial play of the game when Tyson Chandler was befuddled that he didn't draw a charge when Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge posted him up and banged his way into the paint.
Chandler fell backward, but referee Ed Malloy didn't make a call. Aldridge stepped over Chandler for the easy bucket with 1:08 left in the first half. Chandler couldn't believe there was no call and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle walked out on the court with both arms extended. It took a few moments before Malloy hit Chandler with a technical.
In fact, Mavs fans might have been thanking the veteran Crawford early in the fourth quarter when it appeared he bailed out Nowitzki on a shot attempt from the wing, sending him to the free throw line. Nowitzki made 15-of-17 at the line after going 13-of-13 in Game 1, with every attempt coming in the fourth quarter.
ESPN Stats and Information broke down fouls called by each of the three referees. Crawford whistled the Blazers for eight fouls and the Mavs for four. Pat Fraher hit the Blazers for nine and the Mavs for five, and Malloy nailed the Blazers for five and the Mavs for 12, including Chandler's technical.
All six of the shooting fouls Crawford called against the Blazers, including the defensive three second call, sent Nowitzki to the line. He was 7 for 8 on those free throws.
As far as any discrepancy in fouls called or free throws attempted, it simply didn't exist in Game 2. Portland was whistled for 22 fouls and the Mavs for 20. The Blazers shot 27 free throws and the Mavs took 26.
Neither team had a particularly good night at the stripe. Portland made 18 for 66.7 percent and the Mavs hit just 19 for 73.1 percent. Center Brendan Haywood missed all four of his attempts.
If the Mavs see Crawford again, they'll take it because it will almost assuredly mean the Mavs are well down the playoff road.
And if they do see him again, perhaps the Crawford voodoo will be a thing of the past.