DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki has rarely, if ever in his 18-year career, publicly criticized officiating. He made an exception Saturday night.
Replays clearly showed that Zaza Pachulia didn't make any contact while challenging Ryan Anderson's reverse layup, but referee Tony Brown blew the whistle to send Anderson to the line for a pair of free throws that pushed the Pelicans' lead to five. Nowitzki, who grabbed the rebound and was ready to throw an outlet pass to get the Mavs in transition, stormed over to express his displeasure with Brown, who made the call from the sideline about 30 feet from the play.
"To me, that's [the] game right there," Nowitzki said. "It's almost under a minute, and [the deficit] goes from three to five, and you're basically reaching to get back in the game. I was just telling him, 'If you're going to make that call, you've got to be 1,000 percent sure he actually hit him. Other than that, you just blew the game.'
"Obviously, that's emotion speaking. One [call] doesn't really win or lose the game, just like one shot doesn't win or lose the game. It's 48 minutes where we made mistakes, where we had brutal turnovers again, especially there in the first half. Just loose with the ball, brutal passes.
"But that's a tough call. I told him that's like me missing a buzzer-beater. We're getting criticized on that. That's like missing a buzzer-beater there."
Pachulia jumped up and down, clearly upset with the call, after the whistle was blown. However, he said after the game that he would prefer to not discuss the call.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, who also gave Brown an earful after the call, creatively declined comment after the game.
"I am not going to give away 35 grand right now, if it's all the same to you," Carlisle said.