Can the Dallas Mavericks Re-Play the Final Minute of the Rockets Game?

Alex McVeighSenior Analyst IDecember 23, 2009

DALLAS - DECEMBER 18:  Center Erick Dampier #25 of the Dallas Mavericks is challenged by Chuck Hayes #44 and David Andersen #13 of the Houston Rockets on December 18, 2009 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.  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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Wins don't come easy in the NBA these days. So when you've got a chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, literally, then you (in this case the Dallas Mavericks) have to take advantage.

Take last Friday night's game against the Houston Rockets. Not only did it feature a tooth-jarring collision between Dirk Nowitzki and Carl Landry, bu there was some fishy officiating.

There were technicals fouls aplenty for Rick Carlisle, Erick Dampier, Jason Kidd and Josh Howard. And while I don't have a problem for most of those technicals, it's the second one on Erick Dampier that caused the Mavs to file a protest with the league.

While reviewing Aaron Brooks' flagrant foul on Erick Dampier, the referees decided that Dampier threw an elbow at Brooks, and gave him a second technical, ejecting him from a game for the first time in his 13-year career.

The problem with this is that Brooks' foul was called a flagrant one, which are not reviewable. So it was while the referees were reviewing a call, a call that they aren't allowed to review, that they found this supposed "elbow" from Dampier.

Side note—the fact that Damp was even called for a technical is ridiculous. Dampier's elbow separated from his body because Brooks wrapped him up around the neck, twisting him around.

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So in the end, Dampier was ejected with one minute left in overtime, with the Mavericks down 110-104. 

Houston coach Rick Adelman got to choose a Maverick to take the free throws, and he chose Kris Humphries, who made one of two, and the Mavericks went on to lose the game, 116-108.

The Mavericks would like the game to be replayed, starting with Dampier shooting the free throws.

Assuming he makes one, the Mavericks are down five with a minute to play.

But here's what makes this one a dilly of a pickle—the Mavs might have the Dirkster back.

Dirk left the game, but not before shooting the free throws with his left hand, meaning he would be eligible to come back in. On Friday night, he was in the hospital, but if they replay the game, Dirk should be able to come back.

If we're going on previous history, in 2008, the Heat and Hawks replayed the final 51.9 of a game in which Shaq supposedly fouled out, when instead he only he had five fouls. By the time they replayed it, Shaq was playing for Phoenix, and the Hawks ended up winning anyways.

So when does the game get replayed? Unlike the Heat and Hawks, the Mavericks only play the Rockets one more time this year, and it's on New Year's Eve in Houston.

It's going to be tough to make up the deficit in one minute, but in the West, the difference between the two-seed and the six-seed can be a single number in the win column, so the Mavs can't afford to let any stone go unturned.

And with the NBA suffering through the post-Donaghy fallout, you'd think they'd be willing to acknowledge the mistakes by the officials, especially when the mistake is as cut and dry as this one.

Will the league act accordingly on this one? We'll just have to see.

Check out more of my writing about the NBA's Southwest Division at FanHuddle .