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Officially, Referees Still Much Debated

May 23, 2003|From Associated Press

DALLAS — There were no referees around Thursday, an off day in the Western Conference finals. Accordingly, nobody got too upset.

A day after the technical foul-fest in Game 2, the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs insisted they are not going to let the officiating get to them in Game 3 tonight.

"It's stupid to even worry about referees. They have a tough job to do. Let them do it," Dallas guard Steve Nash said. "No matter what's happening, whether you're not getting a fair shake on a given night, there's nothing you can do about it. It's not deliberate.

"Even if it is deliberate, what are you going to do about it?"

In a best-of-seven series tied at one game apiece, the officiating has been the hot topic -- and the debate has had a personal twist. It centered on referee Joey Crawford.

The notoriously quick-tempered Crawford called four technical fouls in the first quarter of San Antonio's 119-106 victory, ejecting Maverick Coach Don Nelson with two quick technicals during a timeout.

"I thought Joey was playing for a championship last night," Dallas guard Nick Van Exel said Thursday. "It's over with. Let's stop talking about it so you don't get me fined."

Players and coaches are not allowed to publicly criticize referees, so the easiest thing for them to do Thursday was to try to steer clear of the controversy.

Stu Jackson, who oversees the referees as league vice president of operations, did the same.

"We're not commenting on it," Jackson said. "I don't have a reason why we're not commenting."

*

WESTERN FINALS

NO. 1 SAN ANTONIO VS.

NO. 3 DALLAS

Best-of-seven series is tied, 1-1

Game 1...Dallas, 113-110

Game 2...San Antonio, 119-106

Tonight...at Dallas, 6 p.m.

Sunday...at Dallas, 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday...at San Antonio, 6 p.m.

Thursday...at Dallas, 6 p.m.*

May 31...at San Antonio, 5:30 p.m.*

*if necessary

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