Did The Refs' Cost The Dallas Mavericks Game 3?

Sean StancillSenior Writer IMay 10, 2009

DENVER - MAY 05:  Head coach Rick Carlisle of the Dallas Mavericks protests a double technical foul call with referee Ed Malloy as the Mavs face the Denver Nuggets in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Pepsi Center on May 5, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

With the Mavericks up 105-103 and trailing 2-0 in their series against the Dallas Mavericks, shooting guard Antoine Wright was ordered to foul Carmelo Anthony before he could attempt a shot in an effort to preserve their lead and win the game.

As the ball was being inbounded. Wright carried out those attentions and bumped into Carmelo Anthony hard enough to cause Anthony to loose his grasp on the ball and come close to turning the ball over and thus handing Game Three to the Mavs'.
However, Carmelo regained his dribble and preceded to get off a shot attempt. Wright again collided with Melo and forced him closer to the sideline.
Expecting a foul to be called, Wright backed off Carmelo and Anthony knocked down the uncontested bomb, winning the game for the Nuggets' and dealing Dallas into an insurmountable 3-0 deficit.
After the play, Wright mouthed "I fouled him" repeatedly to the refs as the air was let out of American Airlines Arena.
You can make a debate for either side that Wright cost the Mavericks the game or the referees did.
When the Nuggets' gained possession of the ball off of Dirk Nowtizki's missed fade-away, they called time-out with 6.5 seconds remaining.
If Antoine Wright knew he would be assigned to defend and intentionally foul Melo', he should have softened up the officials' by letting them know I'm going to foul Carmelo before he can get up an attempt.
By doing this the refs' understand their game-plan, and would be able to anticipate Wright's actions towards Anthony.
Instead the result was a clean look and dirty words spewing out the mouth of Mavericks F Josh Howard and Maverick owner Mark Cuban after the game. 
As for the guys with the whistles, you would assume that they would be aware of Dallas' predicament and their late-game situations.
However if you've learned one thing its you can't assume you must know (for obvious reasons) and obviously the officials didn't know that.
It wasn't just Melo's jumper that doomed the Mavs', it was Wright's failure to communicate with the referees and the referees failure to make the blatant call.
The Vice President of Officiating released a saying statement admitting that they missed the fact that is was an intentional foul and they apologized for that.
Either way, the Mavericks are down 3-0 and can look forward to yet another downtrodden off-season.

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