Phantom punch haunts Cavs in loss

DALLAS – The Cavaliers had a puncher’s chance to end their record losing streak Monday night in Dallas, but it didn’t land. Just as an apparent blow from Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki didn’t connect with Cleveland guard Ramon Sessions late in the fourth quarter.

[UPDATE: NBA spokesman Tim Frank said Tuesday that the league reviewed the Nowitzki play in question and ruled it wasn’t a punch.]

The problem, at least from the Cleveland side, is that neither of the three referees caught Nowitzki in the alleged act. With the Cavs trying to mount a late comeback, Sessions drove into Nowitzki’s body, apparently irritating the 7-foot All-Star. Replays showed Nowitzki reacting with an awkward punching motion and closed fist.

The punch didn’t land, but that didn’t stop the Cleveland coaching staff from getting on the officials. Nowitzki was called for a foul with the Mavs up 97-87 with 2:35 left. Sessions hit both free throws to cut the lead to eight.

Had the officials called Nowitzki for throwing a punch, he would have been ejected, two technical free throws would have been shot and Cleveland would have kept the ball. That potentially could have cut into the lead even more. The play wasn’t reviewed.

“You saw it, looked like a punch to me,” Sessions told NBA.com. “I never had any history with Dirk, but it was a punch. I don’t know what it was about, but it was a punch.”

Sessions said he didn’t see it coming.

“Real surprised after I saw the replay,” he said. “If I would have stayed there, he would have hit me. You can’t see it all, but I saw it on the replay. It’s behind us now, but it was a punch. It is what it is.”

The Cavs would end up losing their record-setting 25th in a row, 99-96. Nowitzki brushed aside the incident when asked.

“A punch? No, it was nothing,” Nowitzki said after Dallas’ ninth straight win.

Well, he’s not about to ask for a suspension.

25 Comments

  1. car donation charity…

    […]Phantom punch haunts Cavs in loss « NBA.com | Hang Time Blog[…]…

  2. Virilene says:

    I do not see any punch from Nowitzki at all. What i see is Sessions throwing a flagrant elbow toward Dirk’s groin and missing. Sessions should be fined and suspended for his attempted cheap shot, and Byron Scott should be fired 1) for trying to fabricate a flagrant against Nowitkzi, and 2) for doing a lousy coaching job this year. I guess a worse punishment than firing would be to extend his contract for this ghetto squad of losers.

  3. lucas says:

    o give me a break. if you wanna see plays deserving of a technical go watch the recent mavs vs celtics games. garnett body checked chandler coming up the court and was shoving barea and the ref

  4. xeno says:

    Sessions runs into Dirk elbow first and Dirk reacts with a harsh brush off. I don’t think this was a closed fist at all either. Also when you say Dirk is brushing off the issue because he isn’t asking for a suspension, you might add that Sessions is putting the blame on Dirk to distract from the fact that he elbowed Dirk first.

  5. Rich says:

    The series of bad lucks and poor performance started when the Cavs team themselves backed-out James instead of the Cleveland crowd during the 1st meeting of the teams in Cleveland. Shame on you Cavs players who were even joking and even being friendly with James during that game. It’s like a slap to us Cleveland fans. As a fan, even though my team already sucked, we still tried to come to the arena to cheer to show them our support regradless of their poor play. But when our very own players who we die-hard-ly support turned their backs on us on that game to joke around with James – well the hell with them now ! They could’ve just done that after the game in their dressing rooms or wherever, and not in front of the whole Cleveland fans who religously supported the Cavs through thick and thin. You suck Cavs and you now really deserve to lose. I’m not going to show no mercy, you did that to yourself.

  6. BoBo from Texas says:

    I was at the game and sit near the baseline so I saw the play. Sessions elbowed Dirk in the gut and Dirk responded. It actually should have been a foul on Sessions. If you did what he did to Dirk at the gym or playground there would be a problem.

  7. mike says:

    Dirk has been a dirty player since 2005… before that no..and that was a punch swing follow through..an obvious punch..it was right hook …look up tysons right or left hook..its like that..he elbowed jamison left side of the face 5:33 in the 3rd quarter..jamison’s face sweeled in the 4th…look at that face!

  8. WG says:

    The Cavs are better than this, for some reason they let LeBron completely break em down mentally when the Heat played the Cavs for the first time.

    I almost feel sorry for the Cavs……….but then I remember that they get paid 400K to 15Million a year to stay Fit and do what they love to do.

  9. Ed Moncrief says:

    The Media should not make a big deal out the CAV’s situation. They lost the best player arguably in the NBA in Lebron James and the the size and production of Shaq and Ilgalkus surrounding Lebron around the basket. The most talent player the CAV’s have is the acquistion of Ramon Sessions. This guy is capable of being an elite player in the league if he adds a 3 point shot to his game. His court awareness of passing the basketball, his aggressiveness of driving the lane and getting to the line shooting nearly 83.5% and his confidence that is growing now in his 4 year in the NBA is being highly noticed around the league.
    Everyone knows bad times come to every team sooner or later, but the CAV’s have a few good pieces and with a trade of two before the deadline and the draft in the summer it will get better!!!

  10. Anne says:

    HARDLY a punch. From the way people were talking about it on articles and on twitter, I was expecting a real punch. I saw the video, and it looks like Sessions got him in a hook, and Dirk got frustrated and shoved him off. Nothing more. Besides, even the league said it wasn’t a punch. We all know Dirk isn’t a dirty player.

    • william33spurs says:

      It depends on what u call dirty? in essence dirk gets alll the calls his way. he never gets called for obvious fouls mainly just hacks. when was the last time dirk wasnt in the game for fouling out? game 6 of last years playoffs against the spurs. he never gets called even if hes doing the fouling, and then he complains to the refs oh look at that ref he touched my arm booohooo and then the refs call phatom calls against other teams that never happened. honestly the only good refs are in baseball cuz 1. they wait for the play to happen before they make the call and then 2 they admit their wrong which will never happen in the nba or nfl. but honestly dirk is babyish at times falling on bad habits of babycrying and he gets away with it where if a not so well known player did that he would be td up or ejected. just goes to show u some favortism abounds just saying

  11. baldy says:

    all i got to say that cleveland will be nothing but i say nothing with out lebron james and the whole 25 lossing streak says it all hahahah…

  12. joey says:

    it is a payback fo ru gilbert for having said some words to lebron james it is a curse for u that will haunt you for a long long time…good for you

  13. Zzanzabar says:

    It is kinda sad when a team has to rely on another team’s star player to ‘hopefully’ get ejected from a game just to have a CHANCE to win the game. The question is not whether or not Dirk threw a punch but where the punch is for Cleveland. The team has gone from sad to pitiful, so what are you going to do now Gilbert? Fire Scott? After all you fired Brown when the team had a 60+ win season because the Cavalier fans were screaming for his head, why not blame this latest debacle on Scott? Write an open letter to the fans on how it is all Scott’s fault.

    • Mystic says:

      That’s all well and good in theory, but anyone with half a brain knows that the Cavs were doing decently-enough early in the season — playing roughly .500 ball — before the injuries decimated the team. After losing their best player and 2 significant contributors in the offseason, injuries forced them to lose 2 or 3 of their next 4 best remaining players.

      Furthermore, Brown was a very good *defensive* coach, but he was completely unimaginative on offense, and coddled his star player way too much to be ultimately effective. And if you may recall, Byron Scott took the New Jersey Nets to TWO NBA finals and led a turnaround in New Orleans as well, so his coaching prowess has already been well-established. He was never severely outcoached in the playoffs as Mike Brown was time and time again (Doc Rivers, Stan Van Gundy, etc.)

  14. mfflbro says:

    Where was your article on Baron Davis elbowing JJ Barea in the throat/chin? AWAY FROM THE BALL AND ABOVE THE NECK! That’s a flagrant 2, auto-eject with a fine and suspension… You are really stretching on this one.

  15. JMoon says:

    The refs are all against cleveland this year!!! The Nets game a week ago. Final seconds. It’s a tie game. Lopez has the ball down low, and Hollins is guarding him. Cleveland has a foul to give, so Ryan Hollins starts slapping Lopez on the back over and over and over, but the refs “don’t see it”, and Lopez shoots the game-winner. How did they not see it when Antawn Jamison saw it from across the paint?

    That’s not all either. Every game they “miss” obvious calls. Getting frustrating.

    • me says:

      The refs aren’t against Cleveland this year the Cavs just really suck this year

      • JMoon says:

        I don’t argue that. They stink. But you need to watch some Cavs games. I’ve counted 4 that we could have won had it not been for a very bad call. Not making excuses, but it seems a little suspicious to me.

  16. Sammy says:

    The Cavs might be losing, but what the f is DIrk’s problem. Just cuz the Mavs are rolling??

  17. Bick Davetaa says:

    That was nowhere near a punch, or else about half the rebounds that happen are “punches”.