Jason Kidd and the Mavs can’t get no respect
Things can be tough when you’re on top. Just ask the Dallas Mavericks, and point guard Jason Kidd in particular. After winning their first NBA Championship last season, the Mavs expected to have a target on their backs, as all champions do, but they were also expecting some of the perks, like a bit of respect from the referees when it came to calling fouls. After a 95-91 loss on Monday to Oklahoma City, however, Kidd and the Mavs aren’t feeling the love from the men in stripes. And Jason Kidd has had just about enough of it.
Kidd’s major beef is that he doesn’t think the team is getting looked at like the champions that they are. From ESPN.com:
“We don’t get the benefit of the whistle…I don’t think we’re looked upon as champions. Dirk (Nowitzki) should live at the line if they would call it the way it’s supposed to be. But, he doesn’t.”
This frustrations seems to have been bubbling up for quite a while, but finally boiled over on Monday. The call that broke the point guard’s patience came in the final minute of the game, when Dallas center Ian Mahinmi was called for a foul on Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka with just 46.2 seconds to play which put Ibaka at the line for the go-ahead and eventual winning free throws. The problem? Replays looked Mahinmi got all-ball, or at least head coach Rick Carlisle felt that way:
“I’m in disbelief there was a foul call on Mahinmi…I just watched the play five times; I mean it’s a block. It’s an enormous play. And then Nowitzki gets hit on the arm at the other end and there’s no call. So, I’m at a loss.”
Mahinmi, who was filling in for the Mavs, was in disbelief over the call, sure that he had a clean block, but he didn’t argue the call. He let Jason Kidd handle that for him.
“He didn’t foul him. It was a bad call. Clean block…It was a bad night for the officials.
So do the Mavs have a point? Looking at the game on Monday, the Thunder held a 15-2 free throw attempt advantage in the decisive fourth quarter, and a 33-10 advantage in the game which gave them a +19 point differential from the charity stripe. That’s a pretty preposterous split, especially between two top teams who know how to attack the rim. While I’m not a huge fan of the “superstar rules” in basketball where a foul for touching LeBron James isn’t a foul for touching JJ Reddick, the fact of the matter is that winners get calls. As the defending champions, you would think the Mavericks would be given a couple of freebies and spend a little extra time at the line, but the referees don’t seem to agree.
For his comments, the NBA has fined Jason Kidd $25,000, consistent with the league’s crackdown on pointing out obvious things referees may be doing poorly. However, when you play on a team owned by continuous thorn-in-the-side-for-referees Mark Cuban, you probably earn a bonus every time you call out the refs. At the very least, it brings you closer with your owner for the next time you want to negotiate a contract.