Monday, December 21, 2009

Mavericks Want a Do-Over With Rockets, File Protest

Mavericks Want a Do-Over With Rockets, File Protest

by Tom Ziller

The Mavericks lost a thriller to Houston last night, and owner Mark Cuban is not happy about it. But unlike most teams, who eventually accept defeat and perhaps rip a referee or two in the media, the Mavericks won't let this one die: ESPN's Marc Stein report the Mavericks will file a protest with the NBA to have a portion of the game replayed.

The call at the crux of this protest is ... an improper video review? Cuban tells Stein that when Rockets guard Aaron Brooks was called for a Flagrant 1 in overtime, the referees reviewed when league rules state that only Flagrant 2s are subject to review. The real issue is that when they reviewed the tape, the referees decided Dallas center Erick Dampier deserved a technical foul for a seemingly intentional elbow tossed Brooks's way. Dampier already had one tech, so he got booted with a minute left in overtime and the Mavericks down five. (The call also allowed the Rockets to choose a non-Dampier Maverick to shoot his free throws -- which might actually have been good for Dallas -- and Brooks did hit the free throw resulting from Damp's tech.)

Here's the play:

Cuban has two other, ahem, "misapplications of the rules," which is Stu Jackson for "bad calls." I sense an ulterior motive, though. Dirk Nowitzki, talisman of Dallas, left in the first quarter with an injury we will refer to as "Carl Landry's teeth in his elbow." Dirk didn't return. Presumably, however, in a replay of the final minute of overtime in, say, March, Nowitzki would be available for re-entry. A 4- or 5-point deficit with a minute, the ball and Dirk Nowitzki? That's a result that could change. Cuban knows what he's doing, though I doubt the league will grant a replay considering the referees -- no matter how they got there -- ended up making the appropriate call on Dampier.

The NBA had its first do-over in decades in the 2008 season, when Shaquille O'Neal (then with Miami) was wrongly disqualified on his fifth foul, which referees believed to be his sixth. The Heat and Hawks got together later in the season to replay 51.9 seconds, despite the fact Shaq had been traded to Phoenix and both teams had several new players. Hilariously, no points were scored in the replayed 51.9 seconds, and the Hawks won, as they did in the original game.

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