As you may have heard, the Thunder defeated the Mavericks with a Game 1 buzzer-beater from Kevin Durant on Saturday night. Had the game been officiated the way Rick Carlisle saw it, it may not have even come down to the wire. After the loss, Carlisle criticized the officials by saying Dirk Nowitzki was “grabbed and held and they (called) a foul on him.” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks took that as Carlisle trying to influence the refs for the remainder of the series.
“Look, if there’s been a memo issued saying that if you elbow a guy in the throat it’s legal, I would appreciate that memo being passed along,” Carlisle said when informed of Brooks’ comments. “I sincerely mean this: If one of our guys elbows Durant or Westbrook or Reggie Jackson or Cole Adridge in the neck, that’s a foul. It just happened to be a play that was missed.
“When I was asked about that, I was asked my opinion and I made two statements of fact. It was not about posturing or positioning. They were two statements of fact. You’re talking about a guy that’s been very difficult to officiate because of his unusual skill set and he gets played very physically and we’ve seen it for four years. That’s a fact. That’s not an attempt to lobby the league .That’s a fact of life that we’ve had to deal with and Dirk does a great job with it.”
Nice try, Rick. Whether Carlisle has a legitimate gripe or not, coaches are always trying to rally the officials when they make comments like the ones he made after Game 1. What other reason would there be to complain? If the Thunder play like they’ve played all season, the Mavs will need all the help they can get from the refs this series.