CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The Charlotte Bobcats have alleged unfair
officiating all season. Now they might have proof to back them up.
Moments after their 105-99 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on
Friday night, coach Bernie Bickerstaff said guard Jason Hart
claimed an official told him the Bobcats are punished for
"An official told him in the last game that we would not get
calls because we complain," Bickerstaff said. "I'm just conveying
what one of my guys told me."
Hart, who started against the Mavericks in place of injured
guard Brevin Knight, said the exchange came during Wednesday
night's loss to Philadelphia. He said he did not take the statement
as a "threat," just an explanation as to how the games are
"It was more like, `If we complain all game, the calls you
should get are probably not going to go your way, " Hart said.
"It wasn't a threat. He was just saying, `Just Play.' "
But it's hard for the Bobcats to not feel slighted, especially
after going to the line just 16 times against the Mavericks.
Dallas, on the other hand, attempted 31 free throws.
Bickerstaff, who was ejected from the Philadelphia loss,
acknowledged he complains.
"It could be adverse to us. But I think I still owe it to my
guys," he said.
The Bobcats have lost seven straight and 13 of 14, and once
again, they were in this one late after rallying from 13 points
down at the start of the fourth quarter.
Jason Kapono hit consecutive 3-pointers to start a rally, and
his two free throws with 2:14 to play cut Dallas' lead to 95-94.
That could have been enough for Dallas, but Kapono hit another 3
with 34 seconds to play to cut the lead to 101-99. The Bobcats
tried to defend, but Jason Terry hit a jumper to seal the win.
"It would be really arrogant if I said we weren't concerned,"
acting coach Avery Johnson said.
Finley and Nowitzki scored 20 points each to lead Dallas to its
fourth consecutive victory. Stackhouse scored 19 points, Terry had
17 and Howard added 11 for the Mavericks, who have won nine of 11
Johnson had a pep talk with Terry at halftime that sparked him
to speed up the tempo and hit two late baskets.
"Me and him had a good talk," Terry said. "Anytime you get a
vote of confidence from the coach it means a lot. It motivated me
to go out in the second half and just be a general."
Emeka Okafor had 24 points and 15 rebounds, and Primoz Brezec
and Jason Kapono added 14 each. Hart had 13 points and 10 assists.
The Mavericks closed the first half with a 14-0 run to take a
56-48 lead into the break. Finley hit consecutive 3-pointers and a
short fadeaway during the surge for Dallas.
Dallas used another late run to close out the third quarter,
getting four straight points from Stackhouse and 3-pointer by
Finley to take a 79-66 lead into the final quarter.
The Bobcats didn't get a single free throw in the third quarter
and appeared to be getting manhandled under the basket.
The frustration boiled over when Gerald Wallace was called for
his fourth foul with 9:14 to play. He argued the call, and was hit
with a technical. After Stackhouse made his free throw, Wallace was
called for his fifth foul on the inbounds play 3 seconds later.
Wallace was taken out of the game, where he sat on the bench
with a furious scowl on his face.
"I'm just frustrated right now with the way I am playing,"
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Bobcats had attempted just
five free throws. They ended 11-for-16.
Dallas, on the other hand, was 25-of-31.
Michael Jordan and Charles Oakley played golf in North
Carolina earlier in the day, then watched the game in a suite. ...
Howard, Stackhouse and Darrell Armstrong, all North Carolina
natives, probably accounted for 100 tickets. ... The Bobcats have
made it clear to opposing teams that they are not interested in
trading Knight, or the majority of their players, to a contender.
"We're going to ride it out. Our evaluation should come from a
full season," Bickerstaff said. ... Sitting in between the usual
contingent of NASCAR drivers and Carolina Panthers was actor Robby