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Mark Cuban’s least favorite referee assigned to Mavs game

Apr 19, 2011, 3:33 PM EDT

Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Brown AP

My mind in these situations always floats back to a junior high basketball coach. We were sitting in the basement locker room of our gym when I was in 8th grade and we were convinced the referees had robbed us of a win with a bad call at the end of the game.

“If you really wanted to win, you should have played harder the first three quarters. Leave it up to the refs and you get what you get,” our coach spit out. He was right. Later coaches said the same things, in more colorful language.

But fans never see it that way. After a season of becoming emotionally invested in players it’s easier for us to blame a referee than the player with the blown defensive assignments. And Dallas fans will be ready to blame the referee Tuesday night.

Danny Crawford will be working Game 2 of the Dallas/Portland series tonight in Big D.

According to Tim MacMahon at ESPN Dallas, the Mavericks are 2-16 in the playoffs when Crawford is working.

Dallas is 48-41 in the rest of their playoff games during the ownership tenure of Mark Cuban, who has been fined millions of dollars in the last 11 years for publicly complaining about officiating.

“Not saying a word,” Cuban wrote in an email when asked to comment on the Mavs’ playoff history with Crawford.

Tonight, whenever there is a call against Dallas — no matter how obvious the foul — there will be howls and complaint from the fans. Clearly the league has it in for Dallas, because Crawford was there for Game 3 of the 2006 finals against Miami, and was there for subsequent key losses as well.

It’s easier to blame the refs than your players, your guys. Even if the truth is Dwyane Wade got those calls in 2006 — not all of them good calls — because he was the aggressor. In the NBA, the aggressor gets the calls the vast majority of the time. No, there has to be some vast NBA conspiracy.

Dallas fans weren’t complaining when they had a 19-2 free throw advantage in the fourth quarter in Game 1, in large part because they became more aggressive and attacked more. But tonight, those same fans will be convinced the referees have it out for them.

Put simply, referees do have influence in a game — but far less than the players. If you are worried about the referees, take the decisions at the end of the game out of their hands by playing better early on.

If Dallas plays four quarters like it did the fourth a couple days ago, this will all be moot. And that’s what really matters.

  1. stinkfingers - Apr 19, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    Looks like you have your excuse, Mr Cuban.

  2. aboogy123456 - Apr 19, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    Kurt, the reason people get mad that referees influence a game is that they don’t play for either team. It is fair if a player influences the game, because if he played bad then he deserves to lose.

    Also, please learn some correct grammar, you are supposed to be a professional writer. Do a spell check after you write these articles or at least just read it over once.

  3. delius1967 - Apr 19, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    “Even if the truth is Dwyane Wade got those calls in 2006 — not all of them good calls — because he was the aggressor.”

    It’s easy to be the aggessor when (a) no foul is called when you commit them and (b) a foul is called anytime an opponent even looks in your direction. Both happened in that third Finals game in 2006 for Wade.

    No excuses for the Mavericks, who folded their tents and lost the next three all on their lonesome. But there is no way anyone could look at the fourth quarter of that third game and not think, “What the…?”

  4. oumoonunit - Apr 19, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    Tim Donaghy was a ref in two games during that finals where Wade shot more freethrows than the Mavericks. He is my least favorite ref B/C he was fixing games for the mob. He says he didn’t effect the outcome of games, but why would they be paying you?

  5. Brian - Apr 19, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    It’s possible, I suppose, that there are other perfectly reasonable explanations why the Mavericks do so badly in games that Danny Crawford calls, but it does seem awfully odd that the numbers are so ridiculously skewed. I’m not saying that Crawford is doing anything intentionally, but say for the sake of argument that Cuban rubs him the wrong way. Crawford could very easily be quick with the whistle against the Mavericks without even thinking about it. I’m sure that if someone were to ask him, he’d say he was calling the game straight, and he’d probably pass a lie detector test while doing it (useless as those things are). I just wonder why the NBA is willing to put themselves, and Crawford, in a position where the legitimacy of the game could be called into question, especially if it’s tight and there’s a questionable call that turns it. Even a call that goes for the Mavericks fans could be interpreted by Blazers fans as a case of Crawford buying into the charges of bias. It’s a no-win situation for everyone involved.

    • ocgunslinger - Apr 20, 2011 at 10:40 AM

      I agree. Perception can become reality. There are plenty of games Crawford could work so why put him in such a position where nothing good can come from it?

  6. nyjetsecody - Apr 20, 2011 at 3:14 AM

    mark cuban is fat

  7. helinhater - Apr 20, 2011 at 8:10 AM

    I couldnt agree with Brian more…

    In light of the Donaghy scandal, you would think Stern would approach situations like this and strive for less-skewed results.

    It’s simply a bit difficult to assume a team that routinely has won 50+ games/season over the last 5 years (a 60% win clip) suddenly drops to .092 win percentage with a certain ref on the floor.

    Unfortunately, Stern apparently has read the manifesto of every dictator throughout history…It’s the only explanation for a guy so blatantly ignoring his customers requests for transparency and competency.

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