The Thunder took 33 trips to the line, and the Mavericks didn't think that was particularly fair. "We attack the basket strong and didn't get anything," said Shawn Marion. "They call ticky-tack down on the other end."
When Nick Collison stripped Jason Terry early in the fourth quarter, Rick Carlisle yelled out for a foul call that never came. After Russell Westbrook finished the ensuing fast break, the ball rolled right over to Carlisle, who booted it into the second row. It whacked a small blond boy in the back of the head, which is how these things usually turn out.
It was Carlisle's second tech of the game, and afterwards he apologized to his team (Marion said Carlisle should try out for FIFA), the fans (the little boy's dad said no harm, no foul), and Mark Cuban. Cubes was less willing to move on, taking the opportunity to blast the refereeing:
"Look, I haven't said a whole lot about the officiating in a long, long time, but I haven't seen it this bad in a long, long time. Guys miss calls; that's part of the game. You're not always going to have a great crew. Officials have got to learn that's part of the game. But these were officials that have been part of the league for years, and it was just off-the-charts bad. And, if no one ever says anything, nothing ever happens.
"All I'm saying is some of these guys are bad. Let me rephrase that. Some of these guys are having really bad nights, and it's having an impact. The league's got to come out and say, 'OK, look, we understand they're going through some tough travel or whatever. It's just the way it is.' Otherwise, if that's not an impact, you have to wonder how some of these crews are still on the court."
Carlisle will probably be hearing from the league, since they're so adamant about "not injuring fans" and stuff like that, but we can't imagine he'd face a suspension. Mark Cuban has already cut the check for his fine.