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2:54 AM ET, 6/19/06

Wade, not TO call, sunk Mavs

Posted by Chris Mannix
Avery Johnson
Avery Johnson (right) and the Mavs were upset with Bennett Salvatore and the refs, but it wasn't the reason they lost.
Ronald Martinez/NBAE via Getty Images
MIAMI -- Somewhere, probably out in suburban Detroit, there is a reclining chair holding a happy man. Chris Webber is finally off the hook.

It's been 12 years since Webber called the most infamous timeout in NCAA, nay basketball, history when the former Michigan Wolverine halted the championship game against North Carolina with a timeout his team did not possess. Webber's untimely TO resulted in a Michigan technical foul and helped propel the Tar Heels to the national title.

Webber can now breathe easy. The mantle has been passed to Josh Howard.

Whether Howard actually called the timeout is irrelevant. He says he didn't. But the officials say he did (Joey Crawford says he called it twice) and you aren't hearing Mavericks owner Mark Cuban arguing it -- well, not that call anyways. TO or no TO, Howard's gaffe drilled the final nail in Dallas's coffin, as without a time out the Mavericks couldn't advance the ball past halfcourt and Devin Harris's 45-foot prayer at the buzzer never had a chance.

Yet while Howard's misfortune will be the subject of many an instant classic, the truth is Dallas lost for one simple reason: its complete inability to contain Dwyane Wade.

Gilbert Arenas told me last month that in his eyes Wade was "the most Jordan-like" player in the league today. His abilities to stop on a dime, redirect and score was unparalleled. Lawrence Frank compared Wade to Barry Sanders, a comparison based on Wade's ability to bounce off defenders on his way to the basket. I now see exactly what they were talking about.

To understand the beating Wade takes on a nightly basis one must observe him after the game. Watch him limp to the podium to address the media or stand there when he is done while a cart drives him away like a football player who just tore his ACL. Wade is hurting. His knee won't be right until the offseason and we're not even taking into account the myriad bumps and bruises he's not telling us about. Yet there he is on the floor showing more quickness than Harris, more strength than Adrian Griffin and more athleticism than Josh Howard. Watching Griffin cover Wade was probably the most interesting sight. During one inbounds play the normally mild mannered Griffin delivered a stiff forearm to Wade, a reaction to Wade's muscling him around the basket. Wade has gotten under Griffin's skin. That's not easy to do.

No matter what Cuban says, officiating is not the problem (Cuban could be seen shouting into the stands after the game, presumably in the direction of NBA commissioner David Stern; you can bet they weren't making dinner plans for Dallas). Yes, the officials made some bad calls. The timeout was questionable, maybe Wade stepped into the backcourt and I'm not sure on what part of the body Wade got hit on that final possession. But putting the onus on the refs to win games for you is akin to grasping at straws. For every lousy call that goes against Dallas there is one that goes against the Heat. Or are DeSagana Diop and Erick Dampier just massaging Shaquille O'Neal under the basket? Let's not forget it was only two series ago when it was Pat Riley playing the role of Avery Johnson, blistering the officials for what he perceived as unfair treatment towards the Diesel. These things are cyclical; they go both ways.

The Mavericks need to regroup. They need to go home, get some rest and go back to the drawing board because as effective as their five-pronged defense is against O'Neal, their defense against Wade has been porous. A consistent game plan must be improvised. It's the only way the Dallas can save their season.


backcourt call? i don't know. wade shoved terry? i don't know. inadvertent TO? i don't know ( i mean howard was walkin to the bench while motioning a T?) what i do know is miami is one win away. no amount of complaining can take that away. bad calls happen all the time. what's done is done. what the mavs should worry about is how to stop D-Wade, and not how the game is officiated.
Posted: 3:41 AM   by Anonymous
Mavs fans aren't 'putting the onus' on the officials to win games for them. They are asking the officials to stay out of it at the end. That 'foul' against Wade, given the magnitude of the situation, the amount of contact, and what happened leading up to that, make it one of the worst calls that I can remember in the playoffs.

But yes, all in all, they had their chance to win the game anyway and they choked.
It's shocking to see the mileage that the Mavs are getting in the media with their whining. Every team can look at certain calls and wonder, what if? But that is part of basketball. Mark Cuban seems to have instilled the childish attitude in this team that if the refs are not fully compliant, that they have been robbed.
Posted: 4:14 AM   by Anonymous
Thank you for saying the Mav's didn't win because of the refs. That is a tired excuse. In the end those calls, like you said, go both ways.
Coming into this series, I couldn't fathom a way that Miami could overcome the talent of Dallas' starters or their deep bench. Add in the age factor, and I could realistically see Dallas winning in six. However, the intangible in any Final is alawys the will of the team that wants it more. Right now, Miami wants it more. Dallas has wasted precious opportunities by focusing their defensive attention on the Diesel and pinning their hopes on keeping the big man out of it with the Hack-a-Shaq, but they miss one important point. The Diesel can only hurt you if the other starters and bench are scoring and forcing you to guard him with a single defender. The real challenge is stopping D Wade, and I'm not sure, at this juncture, that Dallas has an effective strategy for shutting down D Wade, or that any such strategy exists. If you focus your efforts on Wade, he'll still throw up 25 and Shaq is going to kill you. All the poise and experience factors have to be in the Heat's favor, right now, and given all the belly-aching and complaining Dallas has done for the past three games. They're not giving credit where credit is due. Forget the refs, if they can't figure out a way to stop D. Wade, and his hot-shooting streak continues, this series will end in Dallas on Tuesday.
Posted: 7:51 AM   by Anonymous
Thank you!!! Please, can we stop the crying when bad calls happens to our team. Each team in these playoffs has gotten bad calls.

To say that Stack didn't deserve a day off is crazy. It has been consistant. Stack did not go for the ball and on top of that Shaq was in the air.

Wade was fouled last night, look at the video. They just called it on the wrong guy!
Posted: 7:55 AM   by mavblogster
it's sickening how sports writer's articles are entirely formed around the end result of the game. Even in cases where that outcome is a result of two consequetive instances where the officials failed in performing their duties such as in game 5 of the final. No one can deny Wade's ability but the fact of the matter is he committed a back court violation and then after the officials failed to call it they called a foul on Dallas, i wish you sports writers would at least be objective in your writting no wonder no one really listens to what you have to say.
Posted: 8:35 AM   by Anonymous
Mark Cuban has always been an idiot, but I'm surprised that Avery Johnson is carrying on this way. Maybe its a tactic for motivating his team, which is understandable, although it doesn't appear to be working. Dirk is another one who has no ref to be mad at. Despite moments in the last quarter and OT he might as well have been on the bench all game. Plus, we all know that Howard called that time out, and we know thats what Avery and Cuban were so mad about...now they are pretending to be mad about other calls...yeah, right. The way I se it, unless your last name is Terry, no one on Dallas has a right to be mad.
Posted: 8:56 AM   by wwp
You know all the Spurs fans are smiling after the Miami win
yesterday. Now you know how the Spurs fans felt about the refs throughout the series
with the Mavs. Call or no-call. When it doesn't go your way it stinks, doesn't it..
Posted: 9:35 AM   by Anonymous
As Bill Walton said, "Just put the ball in the hole!"
Posted: 11:00 AM   by Anonymous
I am so tired of pro athletes & coaches complaining about referees! That's the problem! If these overpaid athletes would play like we teach the kids...play all the way through and don't wait or count on the whistle, then I would have "some" simpathy. Tim Duncan and the Spurs are the worst, but all the NBA players are just crybabies, "expecting" calls for them and "wanting" no-cals against them.

With that said, Wade has been going the basket his entire career, generally, and has taken it to the hole on most occasions the entire playoffs...ask Detrioit!. It was a good play by Wade, a bad defense by Dallas, and the right call by the refs...they called it all night.

I like the Mavs & Heat, but the Heat are playing with far more heart and determination.
Posted: 11:10 AM   by Josh
I didn't get to see the game live, but as I was reading the comments, I got to see a replay of the 4th quarter and OT and got to see these "bad" calls.
Lets start with the non back court call. I didn't see anyone for the Mavs arguing about it when it happened. Sounds like they (the Mavs) were playing Monday morning QuarterBack.
Second, the foul on Dwayne Wade. You are right Mavs fans, that foul should have not been on Dirk, it should have been called on Devon Harris, either way, it was a foul.
Last but not least, I would be mad if I was a Mavs fan about the T.O. call too. Mad at my own player. Josh Howard screwed up, simple as that. In the replay it clearly shows Howard motioning to the official for a T.O. Maybe he didn't know the T.O. situation, but he still called it and the refs had to go through it.
Something the Mavs aren't arguing about is when they were down by 2 late in OT and Howard who hadn't missed a FREE throw up to that point (9-9) missed (choked) 2 FREE throws.
Like "the black man" said, it looks like the Heat just want it more right now.
Posted: 11:25 AM   by Anonymous
Mark Cuban is a baby plain and simple. He's a big baby that thinks he's entitled to act like he acts because he's rich. Mark Cuban is a disgrace to sports. Sports are games. Everyone, players, coaches, owners, sportscastors, they're all doing fine financially and in life now all they need to do is grow up. In one week people will start caring less and less about this series, like driving a new car off the lot. It's just a game Mark and you're not on the team or in the game, you're the owner...show a little class, don't take away the c and the l.
Posted: 11:27 AM   by Anonymous
Jason Terry gets fouled by Wade on the last shot in regulation--NO CALL--replay clearly shows the foul. Wade goes into the backcourt--Cuban cites the rule verbatim--NO CALL. Wade commits an offensive foul on Jason Terry as he drives to the hoop--NO CALL. Wade is bottled up by 3 Mavs and the refs bail him out on a ticky tacky call. Then when Josh Howard asks Coach Johnson if they want a time out after the second free throw, DeRossa terms that as asking for time out. Howard wasn't even talking to the official, he was talking to his coach. 3 old and blind mice wearing gray shirts.
Posted: 1:05 AM   by Anonymous
Maybe if Josh Howard didn't miss two free throws when it mattered, and don't forget Dirk missing one in crunch time,they would have won and not been in the situation to have to call a timeout. The Mavs should be mad at themselves for not taking caontrol when they had the chances. Think somebody got a little cocky after Games 1 & 2 and didn't know how to react after the Game 3 meltdown. Give Pat Riley credit though he's doing a great job, showing why he's an elite coach! Heat in 6!!!
Posted: 11:32 AM   by bomberking
I watched the game in France at 3AM (great game !) and I wonder something I didn't see in any press articles or forum comments... And what if the concussion at the end of the OT was just a strategy to make Wade miss his last free throw... We all know that coach Avery is a smart one, the best NBA coach this season, a man with a well tempered manner, a plan, and that he decided to play the card "us against the rest of the world" to level some of the pressure on his team after 2 (and now 3) consecutive losses and that the only thing that matters during these finals between two great teams is just FOCUS (FOCUS = determination + energy). So is it really hazardous to think that everything was just some sort of a psychological play against Wade ?? I ask the question... and hope that everyting will be about getting the ball inside the basket during the game 6 (without the hack a shaq poor strategy). Bomberking.
Remember, the N.B.A. calls fouls based on who are and what you have to offer for the image & promotion of the game. Referees for the playoffs aren't chosen by how accurate they call the games during the year. Its common knowledge that refs makes makeup calls (a foul that wouldn't have been called if they would've gotten a previous call correct) players attempt to run into a defensive player to draw a foul. Dont the refs know that? The NBA is becoming less credible as far as I'm concerned. I say that we should invest less money to the NBA until they change!
Posted: 12:58 PM   by Antipatico
Dallas... Stop Crying! Let me get this straight, howard called the time out (We all saw him motion the T with his hands), and he should be allowed to take it back? How unfair would that have been to Wade, if you could just take it back and still "freeze" the shooter? As far as the Wade Foul, it was a foul and it was called. Do you forget the Dirk foul on the San Antonio Game? It is not Miami's fault that you missed your free trows and that Dirk did not score 30 points. That is how Dallas wins games. Miami wins it with Wade and guts.
Posted: 2:02 PM   by D@ReU
These OLD Miami vets have proven that they are 'finals' worthy. All the home teams have done is what thier supposed to do - win at home!
Why all the whinning, we hear it every year...when will these babies learn that you don't call your own fouls in the NBA? Just shut up and play the game, even 'Flash' was guilty of a lil' whinning and moaning during game time. All in all the Mav's just might pull it out, okay okay, maybe i'm seeing the glass as half full after all they do have three ex-warriors on their roster and I believe hell would freeze over before 3 EX-WARRIORS win a championship...Go Heat!
Posted: 2:31 PM   by mike c.
I have watched many games this season and during the play-offs and I can see a difference in the officiating between the two. I just wonder just how much more the NBA and the networks will profit from a series that goes seven insted of four or five? Mavs in seven!!!
Posted: 2:42 PM   by Jeffers
Rule 4-VI-g states, `Frontcourt/backcourt status is not attained until a player with the ball has established a positive position in either [court] half.'

I read this as saying that Wade's backcourt status was attained when he landed WITH THE BALL in Miami's backcourt. It does NOT say that he must first establish position BEFORE receiving the ball. To me, it is NOT clear that what happened was a violation.

Besides, one call (or non-call) should not a Finals game make. There were many calls (and non-calls) on both sides.

Rather than complaining about the officiating, try to stop Wade. Easier said than done, though.
Posted: 6:17 PM   by Anonymous
Everyone is saying that the Mavs choked and that's why they lost the game. True and False - the Mavs did choke. They choked huge! But teams miss shots, turn the ball over, and have numerous coaching mistakes all the time and still win games. Did Miami deserve to win the game? Sure they did, they played better. BUT... the reason the game ended the way it did was because of poor officiating. The game should be determined by the players, not the refs.
Posted: 8:20 PM   by Jerry
I am neither a Mavs or Heat fan, what I am is a basketball fan.

But if I were a heat fan i'd and my team wins the NBA championship i'd feel it was cheapened by porous refereeing. I'd rather have seen Shaq flush home Wade's miss, then by "given" two freebies at the line.

whats obvious to me is, the NBA stands tomake a wholelot more money by the series going seven games. whether or not they "instruct" refs to make it so, or it is implied, the calls in game 5 were the second worst I have ever seen (game six blazers-lakers a few years ago takes the cake)

let the players decide the games for crying out loud.

whatever happened tothe unwritten rule of swallowing the whistle come crunch time?
Posted: 8:28 PM   by Anonymous
I remember way back when Jordan first retired to play baseball, and a gutty Bulls team slugged it out with my beloved Knicks in the eastern conference finals.

On a crucial play at the end of the game, Hubert Davis was "fouled" by Scottie Pippen.

It was the best chance the Ewing era Knicks had at a championship, and to this day I wish the call wasnt made!!!!!

point is, when referres decide games, it cheapens the integrity of the game, and leads to a result that sickens the victors as well as the defeated.

I will not be watching the rest of the finals, or any future NBA games (and not just because my Knicks suck!!)
Posted: 8:30 PM   by Anonymous
Stop whining Mavs... I didn't hear the Spurs complain about non calls... It's a matter of bias... Since you root for the Mavs... you complain... but if calls go your way, you don't care about the other team's reaction. Whining will not win you championships... you are just sour graping...