Jason Kidd: Mavs not viewed as champs
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Following Monday's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd said the defending champions haven't received the benefit of the doubt from the officiating all season because they are not looked upon as champions.
Case in point: Mavs coach Rick Carlisle couldn't believe the foul called on center Ian Mahinmi as he attempted to block Thunder forward Serge Ibaka's shot with 46.2 seconds to go, providing the winning free throws in the high-intensity matchup.
Also, Dallas led 91-87 with 2:24 left, but lost 95-91 while shooting 23 fewer free throws than the Thunder. Five of Oklahoma City's final eight points came at the free throw line and it outscored Dallas 14-2 from the line in the fourth quarter.
"We don't get the benefit of the whistle," Kidd said. "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."
Nowitzki got to the free throw line just three times. He made them all as part of his game-high 27 points.
Carlisle believed Nowitzki -- who described the Mahinmi foul call as "brutal" -- got hacked without a call being made after the critical foul called on Mahinmi.
"I'm in disbelief that there was a foul call on Mahinmi," Carlisle said. "I just watched the play five times; I mean it's a block. It's an enormous play. And then Nowitzki gets hit on the arm at the other end and there's no call. So, I'm at a loss. I apologize for that."
The Thunder's 6-foot-10 Ibaka went up for a short hook in the lane and was challenged by the 6-foot-11 Mahinmi and his outstretched right arm.
Mahinmi said he thought he got all ball, a play that could have given Dallas possession while maintaining its 91-90 lead. But the whistle blew and Ibaka made both free throws for a 92-91 Thunder lead.
Mahinmi, who had 13 points and five rebounds coming in relief of injured starting center Brendan Haywood, said he was in disbelief at the call, but did not argue it.
"It was heat of the moment, they called a foul," Mahinmi said. "I didn't want to go up to the referee and him thinking I'm trying to use bad words and stuff, so it's unfortunate for us."
Oklahoma City held a 15-2 edge in free throw attempts in the decisive fourth quarter, and held a 33-10 edge in attempts overall for a 19-point advantage.
"Thirty-three to 10? Thirty-three free throws to 10, can I explain that?" Carlisle said. "They get to the free throw line a lot, but I don't want to be accusatory to the officials. But, I thought our guys were aggressive enough to deserve a few more chances."
After Mahinmi was whistled for the call, Kidd pled Mahinmi's case to referee Pat Fraher, to no avail.
"He didn't foul him. It was a bad call. Clean block," Kidd said. "I just said [to Fraher] it wasn't a foul. He blocked the ball and after the play he said he bumped him with his body. I don't think so. It was a bad night for the officials. It happens."
Jeff Caplan covers the Dallas Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com.