The Dallas Mavericks played the Houston Rockets in Dallas last night, but by the time the 2nd half rolled around, there wasn’t much basketball left to be played.
The Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets do not like each other. That has never been disputed and never been more blatantly obvious than in last night’s game/duel between the teams.
The Dallas Mavericks (9-23) are falling apart more and more each game. The Houston Rockets, on the other hand, have hit a stride where they are now 24-9 and 3rd in the Western Conference standings.
Dallas is not used to seeing this kind of team on either side of the court and it has caused some short tempers and backlash because of it. However, contrary to popular belief, the events of last night were not as one-sided as the media wants to report.
Let’s start from the first instance of bad blood. About halfway through the 2nd quarter, Houston was on a run and the Mavericks were struggling to get the ball through the hoop. Andrew Bogut set a down screen for Harrison Barnes to get an open three and didn’t quite get his feet set. Offensive foul.
Dec 27, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) lays injured on the ground during the first half against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
But wait, Harden is still laying on the ground holding his face from running into a nearly stationary Bogut. As is the tendency for any soccer player, he stayed on the ground until the refs decided to review the play and award Bogut a flagrant 1.
This was not a flagrant foul by any stretch of the imagination. Andrew Bogut is planning on repealing the call but probably will not get any love from the NBA for it because Harden was associated in the play.
Did I mention after the game that Harden wore a shirt in Mavs colors with a big “L” spray-painted onto the front? This along with the incessant jawing to anyone who passed by him makes me wonder how Harden commented about the disrespectful nature of the Mavs. And worse, how people actually bought it.
Now that my venting is over about that, this is NBA basketball. It gets heated and people talk all the time. There is nothing new here.
Nene and Justin Anderson got into it and got busted for double-techs in the 2nd quarter as well. Nene pins Simba’s arm behind him. Simba retaliated. Tech for each. Plain and simple.
Later in the 2nd quarter, Ryan Anderson blatantly pushed Dirk right in the back. No technical/flagrant foul awarded. Let’s see the video.
The third quarter was when the fun really began though. In the third alone, the refs assessed 5 technical fouls and 1 flagrant. That put the game total at 8 technicals and 2 flagrants once time expired.
The biggest point of controversy, a heated exchange of words between Salah Mejri and Trevor Ariza, is still controversial with no clear understanding to this point of exactly what happened. The reports say that Salah said something to Ariza about his wife and kids and Ariza retaliated.
Let me put this out there right now, I do not and will never condone talking about someone’s family on the court or ever in an unkind manner. Some things are bigger than the game of basketball and family is at the top of that list.
Now that this is cleared up, we have to remember that Mejri is from Tunisia and has not been in the United States for long. He has an accent that comes out much stronger when he is frustrated. He also has fervently denied that he said anything of the sort to Ariza. Isn’t there a chance that there was some miscommunication there?
Salah Mejri took to Twitter on Wednesday to respond to the matter:
There is always 2 sides to every story.I would never insult an opponent's family regardless of how much a player insulted me repeatedly pic.twitter.com/Gi8b9F8bzD
With all that happening and security allowing Ariza to wait outside the Mavericks locker room for a while, you wouldn’t think it could get much worse. Patrick Beverley (who sat the game out with a quadricep strain) decided to get in on the action and began bad-mouthing Rick Carlisle as he left his press conference.
Patrick Beverley yelled at Rick Carlisle, not pleasantly, as Carlisle exited his postgame press conference. Carlisle didn't acknowledge.
Obviously, there are conflicting views over the game last night and who was to blame but in the end the Mavericks lost and got swept by Houston in the season series. It was an ugly game and 5 technical/flagrant fouls for each team is a pretty clear indication of that.
One thing that was not hard to dispute was the illegitimacy of the refs in the game last night. Bad and questionable calls controlled the game and the lack of authority during the entire matchup was evident. Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram gave his view on the reffing via Twitter.
I have a golden rule. If I have to include the refs' name(s) in my game story, something was seriously wrong with that game.
Next year’s matchup with the Rockets ought to be an interesting one. Until then, I will leave it up to you to make up your mind on the results of last night’s game. No fight is ever fully one-sided though.