After ripping off a 19-6 run over the final six-plus minutes of the second quarter to take a commanding lead over the Portland Trail Blazers, the Dallas Mavericks really wanted to get one more closing-seconds bucket — one last score to drive a stake into the home team's heart before halftime. But who would they turn to for that first-half dagger?
Would it be longtime leader Dirk Nowitzki? Or maybe O.J. Mayo, Dallas' top scorer on the season? Perhaps Darren Collison, who'd already scored a team-high 10 points in the second. And sure, Shawn Marion had missed his last four shots, but he'd gotten hot in a hurry in the first quarter; he could be worth a look. Or maybe you go with a Vince Carter drive, with Brandan Wright there to crash the offensive glass for a put-back.
So who'd Rick Carlisle wind up going with? None of the above, because the referees realized that six Mavericks on the court is one too many, and that's illegal:
A helpful diagram of the infraction from the highlights of NBA TV's Fan Night broadcast, thanks to r/NBA user heat:
Too many Mavericks, too few Geese. (Image courtesy of NBA TV; Screencap via r/nba user heat)
Slick moves, Uncle Ricky, but Blazers coach Terry Stotts and the officiating crew working the game caught the violation and awarded Portland a technical free throw. The Blazers didn't capitalize, though, as Wesley Matthews missed the freebie — a clear case of the ball bald-faced lying, which seems especially egregious considering this took place in Rasheed Wallace's ancestral home of Portland — and after a missed Mayo 3 following a Dallas rebound, the teams went into half with the same 17-point margin they had before the odd, rare too-many-men call.
Had the Mavs managed to score on the advantage before the refs noticed, Stotts and the Blazers could have elected to wipe out the basket and anything else that happened following the point where Dallas triggered the ball with six men on the floor, then reset the game and shot clocks to the time showing when the power play first started — basically, pursuant to Rule 2 ("Officials and their Duties"), Section VI ("Correcting Errors"), Subsection E ("Number of Players") of the NBA's rule book, they'd get a do-over. That's thanks to a 2009 rule change enacted to prevent stuff like what happened to the Boston Celtics on Dec. 30, 2008, when a team scored a basket against them with six offensive players before the officials noticed the extra man, awarded Boston a technical free throw but was unable by rule to strike the two points from the score sheet because they hadn't caught it in time.
The team that got the benefit of the odd-man rush? The Portland Trail Blazers. Circle of life, y'all.
Given that Matthews missed the freebie and the whole deal resulted in a "no harm, no foul" situation, I'm kind of surprised Carlisle didn't give a six-man lineup another look later in the game. Could've helped the Mavs at the end, especially on defense. Word to Buddy Ryan.
Video via NBACalifornia.
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