Technically Speaking, Spurs Rout Mavericks

Times Staff Writer

You thought the officials were a big part of Game 1 of the Western Conference finals? Uh-uh. The Ref Fest was just getting started.

Neither team complained after 72 fouls were called and 98 free throws were shot Monday, because they were split almost evenly.

That wasn’t the case in Game 2 Wednesday night.

“Tonight was ridiculous,” Dallas Maverick guard Nick Van Exel said.


The free throws weren’t divided evenly as the San Antonio Spurs won, 119-106, to even the series, 1-1. The teams were headed in different directions: Spurs paraded to the free-throw line, Maverick coaches trudged to the locker room.

The Spurs shot more than twice as many free throws as the Mavericks, 45 to 22. And the Spurs converted 82% of their attempts.

The Spurs shot 16 free throws in the first quarter compared to five for the Mavericks. That was due in part to the Spurs’ driving to the basket while the Mavericks tossed up jumpers, but the Mavericks believed the officiating crew of Joe Crawford, Dick Bavetta and Ted Bernhardt had it in for them.

Most of the fouls called against them prompted the Mavericks to start flailing their arms as if they were synchronized swimmers. Then they started complaining, resulting in four technical fouls called against them in the first quarter and five overall.

“We’ve got to keep our composure way better,” Maverick forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “Of course, you’re emotional out there on the court and you’re fired up, but you’ve got to find a way to kind of stay in the game.

“We got aggravated way too much and complained way too much about every call.”

In addition to the emotional meltdowns, Nowitzki had to leave after picking up his third personal foul 7:11 into the game. Nowitzki didn’t help too much even when he was in the game, missing seven of his first 11 shots as the Mavericks fell behind by 28 points.

“I was putting myself in bad positions, I guess,” Nowitzki said. “I got in foul trouble quick and never got my rhythm for the game.”


It was too much for the coaching staff to watch.

After Nowitzki’s first personal, with 2:46 left in the first quarter, Crawford called a technical on Maverick Coach Don Nelson. Nelson stood in defiance near half court, until Crawford called a second technical, prompting an automatic ejection.

“Don walked up to half court,” Crawford told a pool reporter. “I never told him to sit down because that’s not my job to tell him to sit down. I told him to go coach his team and he said, ‘No, I’m not going to.’ So I hit him with one [technical]. I said, ‘Go coach your team.’ He said, ‘I’m staying right here.’ So, bang, I threw him.”

That left Nelson’s son, Donn Nelson, in charge. Late in the second quarter, assistant coach Del Harris apparently saw enough and walked onto the court, prompting a quick technical and a hook from Crawford.


“Nelly probably needed a little company back there,” said Maverick forward Michael Finley, who scored 29 points.

Harris said he had only one request: toss him with one technical, instead of two, so his team wouldn’t be penalized with a second free throw and he wouldn’t be fined an additional $500.

The dispirited Mavericks stopped playing and doing anything else that required effort in the second quarter, letting the Spurs collect 34 points and 19 rebounds.

Things were going so well for the Spurs that they even capitalized on their free throws. They shot 73% from the line, 26th in the league, during the regular season. But they made their first 24 on Wednesday and 26 of 28 (93%) in the first half. That helped them outscore the Mavericks, 69-44.


Spur forward Tim Duncan had 32 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots.

Malik Rose, knocked silly when his head hit Eduardo Najera’s thigh in Game 1, had 25 points, 15 of them from the free-throw line, for the Spurs.Najera didn’t play because of a thigh injury.

The Mavericks tried to rally in the fourth quarter, as they did in the first game, cutting a 19-point deficit to eight points with less than five minutes remaining, but that’s as close as they got.

It left the Mavericks wondering what would have happened if the Spurs didn’t outscore them by 17 points from the line.


“Somebody else just took the game from us,” Van Exel said. “It had nothing to do with what the Spurs did.”