Referees Key in Phoenix Suns/Dallas Mavericks Contest

Sean StancillSenior Writer IApril 7, 2008

The Phoenix Suns were cruising along with a 13-point lead against the Dallas Mavericks who had a banged-up star in Dirk Nowitzki and a 1-10 record against winning teams.

Sounds like a sure win right? Wrong.

Thanks to the referees and a mental collapse by the Phoenix Suns, the Mavs were able to rally back to win 105-98 on Saturday.

A 16-0 run led by Dallas was also Steve Nash and Co's undoing. Missed free throws and shots were also culprits of the Suns. However, many fouls could've been called in that game. I’ve taken the liberty to point out some controversial calls that changed the game.

6:09 remaining: Phoenix leads 91-90 

The Big Cactus attempts to score to give the Suns a four-point lead. Shaq was slapped on the wrist by Erick Dampier, causing the ball to fly 15 feet in the air out-of-bounds. O'Neal had a firm grip on the ball and was going up with two hands, how it could he have lost the ball when it was clearly shown Dampier got a swipe in there causing the ball to soar? The refs called it a turnover—Mavs ball.

5:22 remaining: Phoenix leads 91-90

Steve Nash throws a beautiful pass on a pick-and-roll, looking to be another vintage Nash to Stoudemire handoff. Amare takes off and has the ball about in the rim when, who else but Erick Dampier, shows up and lays his body on Stoudemire just enough so the ball hits the back of the rim and cherubs in.

4:42 remaining: Dallas leads 92-91

Jason Kidd once again fouls Amare Stoudemire when he goes up for the jumpshot. A clear smack on Amare’s shooting hand was shown on the replays and sent fans into a frenzy.

1:42 remaining

Amare Stoudemire begins his move towards the basket and is starting to post up Devean George, when Jason Kidd and two other navy blue jerseys surround him and begin hacking away at Amare and the ball like there's no tomorrow. The end result, Phoenix loses the ball and the game.

Yes, Phoenix let this one slip away from them, but the refs played a part in this loss too. Dirk led all scorers with 32 points and put in 13 rebounds banged up and all, by the way.