First, an entertaining video cut-up from the fine BlazersEdge that shows a series of plucked-out calls benefitting the Dallas Mavericks that Portland folks don't like:
Well done ... though the "science'' of this might seem more powerful without the snarky comments. If a foul on video is so self-evident, why does it necessitate commentary to illustrate the obviousness?
Coach Nate McMillan has been fined $35,000 for the Portland Trail Bitchers' complaints about the fourth-quarter calls that led to a 19-2 FT difference, but maybe his griping will pay off in Tuesday's Game 2 … (especially as the officiating trio is Pat Fraher, Ed Malloy and, natch, Dan Crawford) ... unless anyone cares to truly go through each fourth-quarter foul with a fine-toothed comb and a (semi-) unbiased evaluation.
Here's a full fourth-quarter foul analysis taking you right up until the game was decided by Jason Kidd's three-pointer at the 0:25 mark. The play as listed in Play-By-Play form is first, followed by our (again, undeniably slightly slanted) analysis. On the score, the Mavs' score is listed second. We've watched video of the fourth quarter no fewer than five times to garner these thoughts …
In first possession, DeShawn Stevenson obviously trips Brandon Roy. D-Steve raised his hand to the officials in acknowledgement of the foul. Result: Possession
DONUT 2 - 10:07: Play-By-Play- (61-61) Brandon Roy shooting foul (Dirk Nowitzki draws the foul)
In a rough play where Dirk drove to the basket, Roy was charged with the foul while it could've easily been assessed to Batum as well. Roy must've hit his arm, but Batum was in prime position to take a block. Either way, it was an obvious foul committed by the Blazers. Result: Two free throws
On a fast break, Peja pushed Rudy Fernandez in the back for a lay-up and the foul. Painful to watch the Blazers steal the momentum, but yes, an obvious foul. Result: One free throw
DONUT 4 - 7:33: Play-By-Play- (68-63) Rudy Fernandez shooting foul (Dirk Nowitzki draws the foul)
While watching this play quickly, it could easily be construed as a "ticky-tack" foul. On the replay though, Dirk goes up for a shot and Fernandez put his hand on Dirk's right (shooting) elbow as he's about to release the ball. It is frustrating as a Blazers fan for that to be called since there was limited contact, but it was a foul none-the-less. Result: Two free throws
DONUT 5 - 6:56: Play-By-Play- (70-65) Brandon Roy shooting foul (Jason Terry draws the foul)
Brandon Roy (who struggled all game to stay in front of anybody, making him a dubious fourth-quarter choice for Nate) was beaten by Jason Terry off the dribble and while he was in pursuit, Terry jumped to shoot. Roy's momentum carried him into Jet's body where he took out his legs. There's some cleverness on Jet's part here; it's an initiating-contact move perfected by the likes of Chris Paul and Wade. Again, an obvious foul that will be called every time for those two guys, and called this time for Jet. Result: Two free throws
DONUT 6 - 4:48: Play-By-Play- (72-68) Lamarcus Aldridge shooting foul (Dirk Nowitzki draws the foul)
As we enter the last five minutes of the game, we can consider this crunch time where aggressiveness to the basket tends to favor jump shots even more so than the rest of the game. Keep this in mind. (As should both the Mavs and Blazers, as the winner in this department will likely win the series.)
Dirk beat Aldridge badly on a backdoor cut as Kidd hit him in stride. Aldridge tried to recover, but Dirk pump-faked and got Aldridge in the air. On the way down, Aldridge skimmed Dirk's arm. Foul. Two Shots. Result: Two free throws
DONUT 7 - 4:16: Play-By-Play- (72-70) Gerald Wallace personal foul (Dirk Nowitzki draws the foul)
After Gerald Wallace attempted to take a charge, he fell down. Dirk then got the ball and as Wallace got up he hand checked Dirk and got a foul called on him. It wasn't the most aggressive of fouls, but there is a reason why they made hand-checking illegal. We argued at the time that this was a "superstar call'' earned over the course of 13 years. We'll stick with that.Result: Two free throws
DONUT 8 - 3:15: Play-By-Play- (74-75) Gerald Wallace shooting foul (Dirk Nowitzki draws the foul)
Dirk again beat Aldridge on a backdoor cut where Dirk got hammered at the basket. It's tough to tell who to even assess the foul on as Dirk got gang-tackled by Aldridge, Wallace and Nic Batum, but Wallace ended up being the guilty party. Result: Two free throws
DONUT 9 - 2:35: Play-By-Play- (76-79) Andre Miller shooting foul (Dirk Nowitzki draws the foul)
Dirk split Aldridge and Andre Miller at the free-throw line and jumped to shoot. When Dirk spun-and-jumped, Miller hand his hands wrapped near (maybe not on) the sides of Dirk's hips. His left arm wrapped all the way around to Dirk's front, near the ball. (See the 3:19 mark of the BlazersEdge video.) Dirk made the basket, got the whistle, and the foul. And 1.
Miller was overmatched here, tried to use his hands to accomplish something, and was possible victimized by a superstar call. Result: One free throw
DONUT 10 - 2:23: Play-By-Play- (76-80) Shawn Marion personal foul (Gerald Wallace draws the foul)
Wallace made a cut to the basket and Marion impeded his path as he went to receive a pass. Obvious foul. Result: Possession
DONUT 11 - 1:30: Play-By-Play- (78-80) Andre Miller personal foul (Jason Terry draws the foul)
Jet beat Miller off the dribble and Miller quickly stuck his left arm in front of Jet to impede his progress to the basket. This was another weird-looking play, but it doesn't make it any less of a foul. Despite how much Andre Miller complained. Result: Two free throws
DONUT 12 - 1:30: Play-By-Play- (78-82) Shawn Marion away from ball foul (Brandon Roy draws the foul)
Before the ball could be passed inbounds, Shawn Marion fouled Roy, which gave the Blazers a free throw then possession of the ball. Roy missed the freebie. Result: One free throw
DONUT 13 - 0:25: Play-By-Play- (78-85) Jason Kidd makes 26-foot three-point jumper.
DONUT 14: We have a few talking points to add here.
*The TrailBitchers have spent the last three days whining about how the refs treated them unfairly in the fourth quarter. While the Wallace hand-check was a foul by the rules, we could see where they may have a complaint there. And believe us, we know all about the misery of being sadistically brutalized by the NBA's whistle-blowing star-making machine. In reality though, the Blazers had quite a few shortcomings in the final period they may want to focus on rather than belittling the officials. Like personnel decisions, late-game execution and their stated view of Kidd as a "non-shooter.''
*As we mentioned, Dirk gained two of his trips to the free-throw line by beating Aldridge with back-door cuts. Dirk is a fine offensive weapon, but the backdoor cut isn't exactly one of the primary tools in his repertoire. Before blaming the refs, the Blazers might want to take a minute to make sure they know where Dirk Nowitzki is on the floor while playing defense. ... and to wonder what it is about their gameplan that allowed KIDDIRK to add another arrow to their quiver.
*Of all the fouls called in the last quarter, arguably the most questionable one was on Shawn Marion before the inbounds pass to Brandon Roy. Questionable or not, but by the rules it was a foul. How did the Blazers take advantage of that situation?
They missed the free throw.
*Then on their possession after the missed free throw, they lost the ball out of bounds in a scramble that went down as an Aldridge turnover. … although Nate McMillan made sure to yell at the refs after that one, too.
The Blazers are making a big fuss over the 19-2 free-throw margin in that fourth quarter. Until the Blazers reached the five-foul bonus limit each team gets per quarter, every foul they committed was a shooting foul. It's not that their foul total was outrageous, they just had a terrible knack for fouling Mavericks in the act of shooting.
*Additionally, a pretty sneaky way of padding that total is adding the four free throws the Dallas took in the final seconds of the game after Portland intentionally fouled the Mavs when the game was already decided.
Very sneaky, Nate, but DallasBasketball.com is on to you.
*Finally, remember when we told you to remember that the final five minutes are crunch time? In those final five minutes, how many times do you think Portland took the ball to the basket? Any guesses?
They took the ball to the basket a total of two times. The first time, Gerald Wallace was fouled by Shawn Marion. And the second time Andre Miller made a layup.
Portland can argue its points-in-the-paint point all it wants, but the fact is, the TrailBitchers weren't the aggressors.
No, sir. In Game 1 the Mavericks were the aggressor.
And the Mavericks were properly rewarded in the way basketball is designed to reward winners.
Want More? Inside practice, locker-room video, exclusive interviews, X-and-O analysis? For just about a dime-a-day, Go Mavs and Go Premium! Take our 7-Day FREE Trial NOW!