If you want to be cute about how you view the final play of this game, you immediately pull out the old rule book and read off the section in which the “hand is part of the ball.” It’s a valid rule. I cite it often when a player gets hit on the hand as he’s going up for a shot. The hand is literally part of the ball in the NBA rulebook and it’s a good rule. It’s not just an excuse for Sidney Deane to avoid getting a foul called on him when going to Sizzler is possibly on the line (I know that didn’t happen during the Sizzler bet but you try leaving that out and see how fun it is).
Here’s the problem with citing the “hand is part of the ball” rule: when you reach across someone’s body and have to make contact with the wrist and forearm in order to make contact with the hand, it kind of negates the citation of said rule. And by “kind of” I mean it completely negates it. That’s the problem I have with this conversation. You can view this play as a blown call and it doesn’t mean the league is running rampant with Tim Donaghy clones that are lying to avoid laws he doesn’t understand.
Here is where I stand on this:
1) Kevin Love was fouled and to suggest otherwise is comical. I get it; you either want to be different or you want your Mavericks to have a valid win. To ignore an obvious blown call seems silly to me, whether you’re a Mavericks fan or Ed Malloy. Especially if you’re Ed Malloy.
2) The Mavericks’ win is still valid. This game didn’t come down to one missed call and one missed call only. The Wolves played like crap for 24 minutes and the Mavs pounced all over it. The Wolves’ poor energy and play for the first half of basketball put them in this situation that was completely avoidable. We also don’t know the Wolves win this game if the correct call is made. I’m fine admitting Dallas won this game fair-and-square enough because the Wolves didn’t come to play until the third quarter.
3) Also, if you’re a Mavericks fan and Dirk Nowitzki gets hit like that from Corey Brewer, are you rolling with the people that say “hand is part of the ball” or are you lighting Mark Cuban’s pitchfork on fire or whatever rioting villagers do? If you’d want a foul one way but justify it in your favor the other way, we can’t have this conversation. I think it’s more than acceptable to say that Marion got away with one but you’ll still take the victory. Seriously, there isn’t anything wrong with that.
4) That still doesn’t mean the call shouldn’t have been made. Marion is reaching across Love’s body and slapping a lot of parts of his arm, including the hand. Making a lot of contact with the hand doesn’t negate making contact with the rest of the arm.
5) The Wolves and Kevin Love have been on the benefit of a poor foul on a reach-in before that was allegedly clean:
There is no way that’s a foul from Andre Iguodala. It’s completely clean and legal. That’s what a clean defensive play looks like, even though he got whistled for the foul that cost them the game. What Shawn Marion did to Love is nothing even close to this. I’m not saying it excuses the foul by Marion not being called either; just remembered it and decided to mention it here with some video evidence.
(It also allows me to re-tell the story of the Sixers have 0.1 seconds left on the clock and the Wolves putting Darko Milicic in for his only action in the game. He tipped the inbound lob off the backboard, causing a brief moment of panic from certain players on the Wolves. In the locker room after the game, they were joking about how they thought Darko was going to tip it into the basket, which would have pissed them off but they still would have laughed about it because, “it would have been the most Darko moment ever.” That’s an actual quote from one of the players on the team at the time.
The beauty of it was Darko was standing next to him when he said it and didn’t seem affected by it. That’s just simply what he was and he seemed to accept it. His teammates were openly making fun of him in front of him like he wasn’t even there. He didn’t care. Miss you, buddy [never].)
There were other aspects to this game though, outside of the horrendous no-call. I’m going to keep numbering stuff here because it means I don’t have to try to weave it all together into one flowing recap:
6. The bench was horrendous again. JJ Barea had all five of the bench’s points, which would have been fine for him except he also turned the ball over five times. In the first half, the bench had six shot attempts and eight turnovers. That’s not acceptable in any way and there’s no way to sugarcoat it or look for a bright side in that respect. Barea also jacked up a bad 3-pointer when he saw Ricky Rubio was checking in for him around the 4:44 mark. The Wolves were down two and it ended up being a wasted possession.
I’ll defend Barea because I believe in his role on the team and think his running mates don’t do him any favors this season. It doesn’t excuse his bad decisions, but I guess I’ve just learned to accept the bad with the good, even if the bad outweighs the good through the first two months. But that stuff has to stop when you’re having a bad game. Barea was definitely having a bad game too. It was a wasted possession in what turned out to be a one possession game. Who knows what the butterfly effect is if they get a quality shot and make it at that point in the game? It would have been cool to find out though.
7. Rubio came back into the game for Barea at the 3:43 mark. Rick Adelman sent Rubio to the scorer’s table with a little under five minutes left in the game but some thought it was a little late in the quarter. Adelman essentially admitted as such after the game when he said he could have gone to Rubio a minute or so earlier. He thought there would be a timeout sooner but didn’t want to burn one because the Wolves were running low on timeouts. Getting organized ended up being a premium necessity at the end of games so I understand why he didn’t burn one. It was a gamble that didn’t pay off.
8. Seriously, Ed Malloy is so bad.
9. Aside from the foul that wasn’t called, Marion obliterated the Wolves tonight. They kept leaving him in open space and he kept making them pay. I don’t even think it was so much that this was the gameplan; I think they just rotated poorly and when they did, Marion was the guy that ended up with the open looks. He cashed in on them too.
10. I thought this was one of Rubio’s better games but because he didn’t score it will be overlooked. We get it; he is shooting like crap this year. But we have to stop saying it’s a bad year for him just because someone blurted it out. There is surprisingly more to the game than shooting.
11. In related news, Kevin Love is a ridiculous shooter and a phenomenal scorer. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony are better scorers than Kevin Love in terms of ability. After that, Love is firmly the fourth best scorer in the league. He’s so damn good at it.
12. Dante Cunningham looked like he was suffering from some kind of ailment. He almost refused to put up shots and when he did, his jumper looked like a machine that needed some oil. If he doesn’t have it going on a night like this in terms of energy, I’d love to see Gorgui Dieng get a shot.
13. The defense was certainly terrible in the first half but the third and fourth quarter showed this team is capable of making adjustments, throwing the effort out there, and getting stops. They didn’t rely on just forcing turnovers either. They cut off lanes, contested shots, and Love did a great job on Dirk. The capability is there but is the focus? That’s the big question when it comes to their defense. I don’t think it’s ability at all; it’s buying in.
14. Brandan Wright is a glitch in the matrix.
15. Alan Horton’s radio call of the play is really great, especially the part when he recognizes the positioning of Ed Malloy during a replay (TwinCities.com):
Almost makes the whole thing worth it… ALMOST…