After a game when your team gave up 130 points in regulation and somehow managed to only lose by two, it seems silly to rip the officials over a single perceived bad call that took place on the fourth quarter’s very first possession.
But that’s the route Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle took, following a Game 3 loss to the Rockets that put his team in an impossible three games to none series deficit.
“My hope is that in Game 4 – the one play that’s kind of an image stuck in my mind, and I just looked at it six times on the film, is the first play of the fourth quarter,” Carlisle said. “We’re scrambling like hell defensively, and Devin Harris is going to get the ball, and Dwight Howard throws him into our bench. He takes the ball, skips it over the top and Ariza gets a wide-open three.
“So, instead of us getting the ball, and a foul on Howard, it turns into essentially a 5-6 point swing. That stuff’s got to stop. The officials [have] got to get that stuff under control, because there’s too much physical stuff going on. Howard is throwing people all over the place. And that can’t happen in Game 4.”
(The sound was left out intentionally, because in the Mavericks home arena it sounded like a homicide had just occurred when Howard secured the rebound after stiff-arming Harris out of bounds.)
It could have been a loose ball foul, certainly. But this one play had little to do with the game’s final outcome, and watching it six times immediately after a loss that effectively ended your team’s season doesn’t seem like the most productive way to spend one’s time.