- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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DALLAS -- For the second time in two weeks, the NBA office released a statement acknowledging that the opponent should have been awarded potentially tying free throws in the final second of a Mavericks victory.
"After reviewing postgame video, we have determined a foul should have been called on Dallas' Monta Ellis for illegal contact on the arms of New Orleans' Austin Rivers while Rivers was attempting a three-point field goal," NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn said in a statement released Sunday, the day after Dallas' 110-107 win over New Orleans. "Rivers should have been awarded three free throws with 0.6 left on the clock."
The Mavs' win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Dec. 30 ended in similar fashion. Thorn released a statement the next day acknowledging that Shawn Marion should have been called for a foul that would have given Kevin Love a chance to shoot free throws to send the game into overtime.
New Orleans coach Monty Williams criticized the officiating in the wake of the no-call Saturday night.
"That's just too bad," Williams said. "That's just not right. If we stopped it with .5 on the clock, Monta Ellis' arm is across Austin's -- both of his arms for a 3-point shot. It's hard to swallow that kind of no-call in a game like that, especially when Dirk [Nowitzki] gets the same call on the right side in the first half.
"That's a tough one. Then, I think they shot 45 free throws. So it's hard to swallow that. Certainly not going to blame the game on the refs, but certainly didn't like the call at the end."
Rivers attempted to be diplomatic when asked about the play.
"I couldn't get the shot off," Rivers said. "I've never, ever had something like that. ... I can't really comment on it. I'm not trying to lose any money over this. An unfortunate event happened. It happens in basketball.
"We made mistakes down the stretch, and you can't put the game in the hands of somebody else, so it's not the referees' fault."
Mavs owner Mark Cuban, who has been fined several times for criticizing officiating during his 14-year ownership tenure, has praised the league for its transparency in acknowledging critical officiating errors.
3dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann