How to Foul When You Want to Foul

Yes, what Antoine Wright did to Carmelo Anthony was a foul, but you play the game the way the referees call it.  In that light I have three recommendations for the Mavericks next time they find themselves in that situation.   

1.        Tell the officials you want to foul before the shot goes up.  It is not against the rules to communicate your strategy to do to the officials.  For years players and coaches have informed refs that they want to call a timeout as soon as they grab a rebound.  If the officials know what you want to do they will be anticipating that you are going to do it and that makes it much more likely that they will make the call you are looking for.  Plus, I have no idea if the on court referees keep track of who has a foul to give or not.  In fact, the scorer’s table passes that information on to them specifically so they do not have to keep track of that kind of thing. 

2.       If you are going to foul, foul.  Do not make a weak slap at the ball/arm.  Wrap the offensive player up.  Grab him, hold him like you are at the prom.  Leave the referees no choice, but to call the foul.

3.       After the contact do not put your hands up in the air and act like you did not foul.  Making the French national gesture with you arms up in surrender communicates that you did not intend to foul and do not want to be called for a foul.  Players have been making that gesture hoping to avoid a whistle since God created referees.

If there is something to be said for the officials I think it is clear that the game was officiated the way the Mavericks need it to be officiated in order to have a chance to beat the Nuggets.  The Nuggets physical play was penalized all night long, which is fine and I think the officials were pretty consistent all night long.  The result was the game turned into a dreadful non-stop parade to the foul line.  Now, please note, I did not say the referees screwed the Nuggets nor did I say the Mavericks got all the calls.  Denver shot plenty of free throws too.  If Dallas wants to complain about the refs, and judging by the reaction of Mark Cuban following the game they do, tonight was not the night to do it.

Update:  Official statement from the NBA:

“At the end of the Dallas-Denver game this evening, the officials missed an intentional foul committed by Antoine Wright on Carmelo Anthony, just prior to Anthony’s three-point basket.”

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  • Kay

    Wow this was quick.
    Anyway, if Melo hadn’t made that shot The Mav wouldn’t have been crying. So man up and accept your defeat.

  • magster

    The way I saw it, Melo pulled up after the foul and drained the 3 on a continuation. Dallas was lucky an “and one” wasn’t called.

    The pandemonium at the bar when Melo hit the shot was awesome. Cuban crying was the cherry on top.

  • Sebastian Pruiti

    One has to wonder that if it wasn’t Mark Cuban involved would the NBA have made their statement so quick?

  • Othe33

    I think it’s important to start by saying this much: if the tables were turned and the Nuggets had lost that game at home to go down 3-0, I’d be very upset.

    That said, plays like this are a part of playoff basketball in the NBA. Sean Elliot’s heels-up three against Portland and Derek Fisher’s spinning buzzer beater are two examples that come to mind. I have been waiting for the game in which the Nuggets survive by the skin of their teeth, and now that it’s happened we can move on to more dominating performances.

    It was unfortunate that the final play will forever be disputed, but to complain that the refs cost the Mavs the game is just immature frustration. 48 minutes of basketball were played, many calls went both ways…and now that it’s over let’s close this series out on Monday and look forward to the WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS!

  • Josh Hopp

    Great piece Jeremy. It’s a pity that this incident has taken a lot away from the credit the whole team, especially Melo, should be getting for this great road victory. The we grinded it out to the last second, never letting Dallas get more than a 6 point lead on us. We showed that we can win in more than one ways.

    Really, Antoine Wright was very, very silly indeed on that last play. Not only was it a half assed attempt to draw the foul but he looked like after he bumped Melo he stood back and put his hands up as if to say “I didn’t foul him.” It was almost as if he was banking on Melo missing the shot. As many people have said before, if Melo had hit the shot it would be a complete non issue. Unfortunate way to go to 3-0 but we are now virtually guaranteed our first western conference finals beath. Exciting times, Nuggets loyals!

  • jakester

    Josh this would actually be the nuggets’ third conference finals. I hope the team doesn’t let the refs call bother them and somehow let Dallas back in this series. Time to close the door, fellows.

  • jakester

    What an odd statement from the league, so soon after the game. Couldn’t they also have said “the refs also f’d up by calling Dahntay on a foul on that one fast break where he didn’t even touch Howard or Dirk or whomever”?

    I watched the entire game at a sports bar with the sound off and no closed captioning, and unaware that the Mavs had a foul to give. Here’s what I saw:

    * Inbounds to Melo, who gets the ball poked away, and manages to recover it;

    * Basic man defense by Wright for a couple of seconds, followed by an attempt at a steal;

    * Melo clears space with his left, Wright stands up so as not to foul on the three-point attempt, and a swish by Melo.

    I could have SWORN the Mavs were upset about a non-call on Melo’s forearm. Here’s my question – is there really a difference between an “intentional foul” and an “unintentional foul”? A foul is a foul, right? At least in theory. If the Mavs hadn’t had a foul to give, and they’d called Wright on that reach-in attempt at the ball, would they have liked sending Melo to the line with a couple of seconds left and a chance to tie the game?

    As the article says:

    “Wright could have wrapped up Melo, making sure to sell the foul and take judgment out of the equation. Wright said he didn’t want to make any extra contact in case Anthony was about to shoot, which would have led to three foul shots.”

    Well, then, that’s the chance you take. There’s always a risk on fouling a shooter like Melo, who can sell a shot attempt with the best of them.

    I’m honestly concerned that the Mavs will use this as ammunition to make a series out of this. And what really sucks is that the truly impressive games by Chauncey and Melo are going to be marred by the unusual ending. Oh, it also sucks that Yao is out for the rest of the playoffs.

  • jakester

    And how on earth *did* the Mavs have a foul to give in the fourth anyway? Three fouls in the entire quarter?

    Hopefully the *Nuggets* will use the fact that the NBA singled that play out to get them motivated to prove who is the undeniable best team in this series. Nene needs to stop dancing around in the paint and take it to the rim EVERY TIME. I don’t care if he misses a few layups or dunks. Keep taking it to the rim. I also think GK should put Balkman in to spice things up, and AC needs to stop missing every open jumper he gets. You’re a professional basketball player – a guard no less – make your shots AC!

    Anyway, Aschburner at has a good rundown of why the Mavs are far more to blame than the refs on this one. I’m *almost* tired of talking about this. Glad we don’t have to wait another week and a half for Game 4!!

  • dmc0015

    Wow. Are you guys really going to try and gloss over that horrible call with the “well we had missed calls too” thing?

    I am just sick today after hearing all of the excuses for why a blatant missed call is acceptable in a situation when the entire basketball universe knew what was going to happen.

    Enjoy the 3-0 lead. The Nuggets earned two of the wins, but don’t expect anyone to think that that 3rd game was a legitimate win.

    In a court of law is someone punches you in the face would they ever rule against you because you allowed them to get too close to you? Never, but yet that seems to be the only justification I can see from the so called ‘experts’ and talking heads this morning.

    It is absoloutely sickening.

  • TroyF

    Actually, yeah, I am going to gloss over that final call. The Mavericks took 49 freakin FT in that game. Carmelo was called for a foul on what should have been a jump ball. Kidd got away with back to back hooks on Chauncey resulting in two straight scores. AC steals a ball and is at mid court before the ref blows a whistle on Birdman and somehow it turns into a defensive foul allowing the Mavericks to get two FT.

    It’s funny, but I really doubt any Mavericks fan was all that pissed off when any of those calls went their way (when they knew damned well those were all missed calls), yet there is huge scorn for a missed call late. The third win is as legitimate as any other win. You had us in your house, in a game you had to win, with everything going your way (including the officials) and you left it up to a last second shot? That says right there who the better team is. The Nuggets would have beat the Mavericks in five regardless.

    The whining is insanity.

  • Business Socks

    lol @ above. The first thing losing teams fans point out is the refs, not the events of the actual game. Read Jason Kidd’s quote – he’s been around and knows. One call in an NBA game NEVER makes or breaks a team. The Nuggets shot the ball terribly in the first half, where were the Mavs to capitalize? Terry hits a 3 to go up 105-101 and then the Mavs let Melo drive the lane and dunk in about 2 seconds leaving the Nuggets in a situation where they didn’t have to foul. Your main man Dirk can’t hit a shot to seal it after that. You either make plays down the stretch or you don’t. Mavs are down 3-0. Melo hit a clutch 3 in a hostile environment. Life is unfair sometimes. Sorry. Can’t wait for the TNT gone fishin’ segment with Barkley, Kenny and Ernie!

  • sleepydog

    Man Dallas fans are funny. After every game we beat them (so every game), they have some excuse. Howard, was out, the refs were bad, they play dirty blah blah blah. It bothers me that every win we have against them someone will say it’s not legitimate (but I’ll still take it).

    And yes, the refs missed the call, but if Wright is trying to foul, he should take a page from the Nuggets book and FOUL HARD. Make sure it gets called. It’s the playoffs, you can’t assume the refs will make the call you want them to.

    @dmc0015: I have no idea what your analogy is supposed to mean, or how it applies. Who got punched in the face, and who got too close?

  • Josh Hopp

    my bad jakester :)

  • Othe33

    I just read the article on in which Mark Cuban is alleged to have been talking trash to KMart’s mom.

    I can’t believe I used to think Cuban was good for the league. I liked his involvement, I thought it added something to the entertainment level of the league…now, apart from building the Mavs into a decent franchise instead of the Texas Clippers, I think he’s a totally indecent human.

    Thank goodness for Stan Kroenke, fake hair and all. Sits in the sky box, where an owner belongs, spends plenty of money, treats his teams and front office right. Doesn’t yell slurs at opposing players’ parents.

    I can’t imagine if someone from another team had ever yelled anything at my mom. If I were Kenyon I’d “accidentally” end up elbowing Cuban in the face while chasing a loose ball. You want to be a fan? Fans are in danger.

    Luckily Kenyon is a better man than me.

  • jakester

    Balkman in Game 4?

    Can AC stop shooting jump shots?

    Which Nene will show up?

    Dirk has been the best player in this series through 3 quarters.

    Melo has been the best player in the 4th.

    The 4th quarter is where most playoff games are won.

    If I were a Mavs fan I’d be livid too. But Jeremy is exactly right that Carlisle andWright could have done things much better. And Melo was going to hit a 3 even if the Nugs had had to inbound again. :-)