Officials making mistakes, sadly, until someone does something about it, are part of the game. It’s great to have them when they go in your favor, as Shawn Marion clearly fouled Kevin Love on the final play of the game but wasn’t called for it, saving the Dallas Mavericks and ensuring a 100-98 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Marion hit Kevin Love on the arm as Love was going for the final shot at the buzzer to win the game. Instead of winning the game or at least going to the line to try his luck (Love was 6-of-8 on the day from the line), the Timberwolves were only left with a chance to complain about being treated unfairly by the officials in the most important call of the game.
He got fouled. I wonder what that would have been if Nowitzki, LeBron James, all the top players in the league — a guy reaches on a last-second shot like that, instead of challenging it. Maybe they don’t understand that Kevin is one of the top five players in this league. You make that call. But they didn’t. I thought that was pretty, pretty obvious. … You look at the replay and it was obvious he got arm.
All Marion had to say, making a very good Kobe Bryant impression (last season Bryant fouled Ricky Rubio in a similar situation but no call was made), was that there was no foul. Mario had plenty to be happy with after the game, finishing with 32 points in a rare offensive explosion from him, making up for the awful shooting of his teammates. It was Marion’s highest scoring game since April 2009 when he was with the Raptors.
Dirk Nowitzki was OK with 16 points on 7-of-17 from the field, but he was 0-of-4 from beyond the arc. Monta Ellis was terrible, scoring 9 points on 3-of-14 from the field, but at least he made up for it with some nice vision and passing, finishing the game with 10 assists. The only other Mavs player in double figure scoring was Brandan Wright of all people, scoring 16 points in 18 minutes. Aside from Marion (14-of-19), the Mavs shot only 40.3% from the field.
The Timberwolves once again find themselves under .500, unable to get a winning streak going that gets them closer to Dallas and the 8th spot in the West. Kevin Love had a huge night with 36 points and 11 rebounds. Kevin Martin scored 19, Nikola Pekovic had 18 while Corey Brewer added 16 points. The problem was Ricky Rubio and the bench.
Rubio scored only 4 points. He did finish with 9 rebounds and 13 assists, but the Timberwolves struggle when he’s hardly involved in the scoring, or at least providing a threat of trying to shoot or go to the basket. The bench players added a combined 5 points.
The Mavericks are creating a safe distance for now from the chasing pack for the final playoff spot in the West, although it’s too early to say they’re safe. It’s good to know the refs have their back, and that it isn’t always up to Nowitzki and Ellis when it comes to carrying the team offensively.