DALLAS — Following the final buzzer of Game 3 of the Mavericks-Nuggets series, several players had to be restrained.
Josh Howard and Antoine Wright of the Mavericks were seen going after the referees at mid-court of the American Airlines Center. Assistant coach Darrell Armstrong almost pulled Howard’s jersey off trying to get him to walk toward the locker room.
In the middle of the scrum was Denver’s Keynon Martin who was laughing and yelling.
“After the game, a couple of their guys were mad at the ref about the call,” Martin said. “I was trying to play peacemaker. I’ve given those folks [NBA] enough of my money already. I’m trying to hold onto mine so I’m just trying to play peacemaker.”
The play in question was a non-call on Wright who tried to foul Carmelo Anthony in the closing seconds. Wright hit Anthony in the shoulder, but no foul was called.
After the game, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was very critical of referee Mark Wunderlich, who was the official near the Wright non-call.
“Unfortunately, in a game where 61 fouls were called, an official decides not to call a foul when we were trying to give one,” Carlisle said.
The coach later said he felt bad for Wunderlich because he missed the call.
“It’s just extremely disappointing,” Carlisle said. “I’m almost as disappointed for Mark as I am for us. That’s a call he makes 100 percent of the time.”
The NBA doesn’t like it when coaches and players are critical of the officials and when it happens, fines and sometimes suspensions occur. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who has been fined a few times in his career for comments regarding officiating, didn’t speak with reporters after the game.
The dustup at the end will probably be looked at by the league office, and of course the comments by some of the players will also be reviewed.
“What do you want me to do?” asked Wright. “Do you want me to Derek Fisher him, just take him out and then I get a flagrant foul late in the game. I can’t blatantly run through the guy, I have to try to make a play on the ball and that’s what I felt like I did.”
The NBA, however, agreed with the Mavericks. It released a statement on Saturday night saying the referees missed a call at the end of the game.
“At the end of the Dallas-Denver game this evening, the officials missed an intentional foul committed by Antoine Wright on Carmelo Anthony, just prior to Anthony’s three-point basket,” said the statement.”
So, what does Nuggets coach George Karl have to say about all this stuff?
“I didn’t see a foul,” he said. “I don’t know. I might have been reading something else. I think its awful difficult to foul at the end of the game when the referee knows you’re going to foul. I didn’t see much of a foul.”