DALLAS – After another tough loss, a fourth by six points or less on their way to 0-7, Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman had a parting shot for the officiating crew that sent the Dallas Mavericks to the free throw line 22 more times than his young Wizards.
“For whatever reason, this team doesn’t get any respect,” Wittman said following Dallas’ 107-101 win, a game his team trailed by as many as 22 points, but had a chance to tie with less than a minute to play in the fourth quarter. “We go to the rim and had 11 free throws. These young guys just have to make a name for themselves, and it’s just baffling some of the things that are said to me by the refs for why they don’t call it.”
The Wizards, who were without penetrating point guard John Wall and big man Nene, went 10-for-11 on free throws. Dallas, which ended a three-game skid, was 26-for-33. The Mavs took just five more shots in the paint than the Wizards (36-31) and three more shots via fastbreak (9-6), yet came away with the substantial advantage at the line. One of Dallas’ attempts came on a technical foul Wizards guard Jordan Crawford.
Entering the game, Dallas had taken 59 fewer free throws than its opponents, a number skewed by the fact that Dirk Nowitzki, by far the team’s free-throw leader for years, has yet to play this season.
In this one, the Mavs’ guard tandem of Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo combined to shoot three more free throws than the entire Wizards team. At the end of the first half, Dallas had taken 16 free throws to Washington’s one. In the second quarter, when Dallas blew open a 23-19 first-quarter lead to 63-45 at the half, the Mavs went 10-for-12 at the free throw line. Washington was 1-for-1.
Wittman was visibly upset late in the game as Washington, which spent much of the fourth quarter launching 3-pointers to get back into the game, was rewarded with no free throws in the final period. Dallas was 6-for-9 and iced the game with five free throws in the final 34.4 seconds.
“So, maybe we just have to send the game film everyday to the league,” Wittman said.
It’s a tactic Mavs owner Mark Cuban is certainly familiar. Cuban, fined heftily by the league throughout his tenure for ripping the referees, is a chronic sender of game film to the league office for review.
Last March, during a game at Oklahoma City, Dallas lost 95-91 and shot 10 free throws to the Thunder’s 33. Afterward, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle was in disbelief over the discrepancy: ”Thirty-three to 10? Thirty-three free throws to 10 — can I explain that? They get to the free throw line a lot, but I don’t want to be accusatory to the officials. But, I thought our guys were aggressive enough to deserve a few more chances.”
So did Wittman, who has seen opponents shoot 177 free throws this season to the Wizards’ 116. If he does send game tape to the league office, he’ll likely choose a dunk attempt by rookie Bradley Beal late in the first half when the guard went high against Mavs center Chris Kaman. Beal didn’t get a call he thought he deserved as Kaman got credit for the block.
“I can’t say anything about that or I’ll be fined,” said the 19-year-old Beal. “That’s part of basketball, nothing I can do about it.”
Beal saved himself a fine. His coach might be another story.