UPDATE: League spokesman Tim Frank said Saturday that Erick Dampier's comments are under review.
SAN ANTONIO --Mavericks center Erick Dampier played 27 minutes and managed to accrue more fouls (five) than points and rebounds combined (four). He said he was miffed at the overall officiating and how Spurs forward Tim Duncan can play more than 43 minutes and get whistled for just two fouls.
Dampier didn't mince words in criticizing an officiating crew that included one of Mark Cuban's least favorite referees, Danny Crawford. By Cuban's count, the Mavs have lost 16 of 17 playoff games with Crawford on the floor.
"When we play defense we're under a magnifying glass, but when we're on offense, there's no magnifying glasses," Dampier said. "You've got to call it both ways. Dirk [Nowitzki] drives, he doesn't get fouled. They drive on the other end and they get the little ticky-tack fouls. So keep it consistent, that's all. Don't be one way or the other."
The Mavs had a decided free throw edge in Game 1, 34-14, but since, the Mavs have been whistled for 43 fouls and the Spurs 31.
"It’s on us, too," Dampier said. "We got to take the ball to the basket, make contact, draw the foul and go to the free throw line."
The Spurs were decidedly the more aggressive team in Games 2 and 3, however Dampier took particular issue Friday with a charge call whistled on Nowitzki by Dick Bavetta. With the game tied, 73-73, with 9:05 left to go, Nowitzki drove the right baseline and made a strong move to the rim as Spurs forward Matt Bonner positioned himself to take the charge. As soon as Bavetta outstretched his arm to call the offensive foul, Nowitzki jumped up in disbelief.
"I'm not even going to comment on that foul. What did you think, it was a foul or what?" Dampier said, believing the call should have been a block on Bonner. "All of us thought that. It's funny, though, they get the same call on the other end, it's ridiculous, one of the refs called the foul from halfcourt. It's almost like they can't even see it. But when he [Nowitzki] drives, 'Oh I saw he was outside the circle, it was a charge.' How can you see that? You can't even see that far.
"Hey, we ain't going to make any excuses. We're going to be ready to play the next game, that's all that matters to us. The next one, biggest game of the year."
On Thursday, NBA commissioner David Stern warned coaches primarily, but players too, about publicly criticizing officials. Stern said he's grown tired of meaningless fines and is prepared to levy suspensions. Dampier said he was unaware of Stern's edict.