Cuban upset with officiating

Updated: December 20, 2009, 7:03 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks formally filed a protest Sunday following Friday's 116-108 overtime defeat.

Owner Mark Cuban said after Friday's loss to Houston that the Mavericks would file an official protest with the league office because of at least three contentious calls.

"We will definitely protest," Cuban said, "because we felt there were multiple misapplications of the rules."

The Mavericks contend the referees in charge -- Ken Mauer, Brian Forte and John Goble -- did not have the license to review a flagrant foul on Houston's Aaron Brooks in overtime that led to a technical foul being assessed to the Mavericks' Erick Dampier.

Because it was Dampier's second technical, Dallas' starting center was ejected with 1:01 to play in overtime and Houston leading by six points.

The Mavericks argued that the review, which resulted in an eight-minute delay, should not have taken place because Brooks was originally called for Flagrant Foul Penalty 1 as opposed to a Flagrant Foul Penalty 2.

Dallas had 48 hours to formally file the protest, which costs $10,000.

Cuban would appear to have a clear case against the review of the Brooks foul in overtime, as league rules state that only a Flagrant Foul Penalty 2 can be reviewed.

Whether the league office concurs that the Mavs' case is sufficient to force a portion of overtime to be replayed remains to be seen.

NBA officials could not be immediately reached for comment late Friday.

There were at least two other calls, Cuban said, that Dallas plans to include in its protest filing.

The first was a clear-path foul called in the fourth quarter on Jason Terry, who was guarding Houston's Kyle Lowry as Lowry quickly dribbled up the floor. Cuban argues that Terry beat Lowry into the frontcourt, meaning that the clear-path call -- giving Lowry two free throws and possession back to the Rockets -- should not have been made. With 7:37 left in regulation, Trevor Ariza made both free throws and Luis Scola followed with a scoop shot to make it a four-point possession to extend the Rockets' four-point lead to 88-81.

Then with the score tied at 100 with 10.5 seconds left in regulation, Brooks -- defended by Mavs forward Shawn Marion -- drove the lane to shoot for the win. The clock stopped with 0.4 seconds to go when Brooks fumbled the ball out of bounds, but the Mavs argued that time should be added to the clock.

The play was reviewed, but no time was added to the clock, even though televison replays appeared to show that a full second remained on the clock when the ball bounced out of bounds. With just four-tenths of a second to work with, Dallas tried an out-of-bounds lob pass from Jason Kidd to Marion at the regulation buzzer, but Marion couldn't get the shot off, sending the game to overtime.

During the lengthy review of the Brooks foul in overtime, Dampier was deemed to have intentionally elbowed Brooks after the play, resulting in his second technical.

Rockets coach Rick Adelman then chose Dallas' Kris Humphries to come off the bench and shoot Dampier's free throws, with Humphries making 1 of 2. Brooks then made his technical free throw to restore the Rockets' six-point lead at 111-105.

Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. ESPNDallas.com's Jeff Caplan contributed to this report.

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics

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