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Game 3 Instant Reaction

May 4, 2012

The writings on the wall, the fat lady just sang, and the fork was just stuck in it because this team is DONE. I made the prediction yesterday that the Mavs, who were so close in games 1 and 2, would get the whistle to blow their way and would ride the advantage to a comfortable 8 point win. Oh how I was wrong. Not only was I wrong that the Mavs would win easily, not only was I wrong that the Mavs would win at all, not only was I wrong that the Mavs would come out fast and aggressive, but I was dead wrong about the officiating finally evening out as the first quarter of that game was one of the worst officiated quarters I’ve ever seen. Some would argue that since the Mavs lost by so much it didn’t really matter but I would say that the Mavs got in a hole early due to the officiating, couldn’t ever get the lead, and eventually ran out of gas in the late 3rd quarter when the Thunder extended their lead from about 9 points to 18 points. You could see the exasperation on the Mavs faces when they watched a touch foul on Dirk on a rebound get called, followed by a no call when James Harden ran straight through Vince Carter’s chest on a drive (charge anyone?), followed by a no call on a tip in with the ball clearly in the cylinder. This was supposed to be a classic “makeup call” game in response to game 2 when Durant was bailed out by the refs on a horrible shooting night by getting 16 free throw attempts and Shawn Marion who never fouls (in 63 games this year he had 4 or more fouls 5x, 8% of the time, yet in this series he’s had 4 or more fouls 2 out of the 3 games, 66% of the time?) again was put in foul trouble with two quick fouls. Obviously the game wasn’t over in the 1st quarter and the lack of cool on Dirk,Carlisle, and Terry’s part was surprising but at a certain point you have to call a spade a spade and any unbiased observer would notice the discrepancy in calls received in this series. This series is over due to a few surprisingly poor decisions by Kidd and Terry in the clutch in games 1 and 2 along with two huge missed shots by Dirk in game 2 and those are the biggest reasons for the 0-3 hole they find themselves currently in. Yet don’t understimate how the refs affected this series as the veteran team, let alone the veteran team that is the defending champs, usually gets every call to go their way. I remember when the Mavs overcameUtahin the first round in 2001 and the Stockton/Malone duo received every call imagineable. I disliked it but understood how they were the veterans, the two time Western Conference winners, and an upstart team like the Mavs wouldn’t be receiving any help from the officials. Fast forward that more than a decade and the Mavs still don’t get any calls, still get no respect, and still are treated like the upstart team despite having a championship banner in the rafters. It’s a sad reflection on the NBA as it’s becoming an almost unwatchable sport where traveling is never called, star treatment is the norm, makeup calls are expected, and coaches vent through the media as a tactic for getting more favorable calls the next game AND IT WORKS! No other sport has such built in bias yet we’ve come to expect it in the NBA and whenCarlislevented about Dirk’s lack of calls in game 1 sports talk shows discussed it as good strategy. The Mavs had no long term chance in these playoffs due to Tyson Chandler not being re-signed last offseason but they did have a chance in this series as a bad bounce on Durant’s game winner and a good bounce on Dirk’s fallaway a game later would have had the Mavs up 2-0 going home. That’s just the nature of sports but the lack of calls isn’t in that category and I will always remember this series as the Mavs being swept despite being a slightly superior team to the Thunder who had a few bounces go their way and the refs in their back pocket.

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