Mad About a Bad Call? Beat Up Cameramen!

The Mavericks, up two with a foul to give and six seconds left, set out to foul Carmelo Anthony before a shot attempt. Antoine Wright reached in on the perimeter with a bump -- it should have been a foul call, especially in this game ... but the refs weren't in great viewing position, and play continued. Anthony brushed it off, fumbled the ball, picked up his dribble and nailed a three with one second left. And that's a Game 3 victory, and a 3-0 series lead.
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↵The Mavericks, who really did try to foul 'Melo before the shot, protested. This isn't the most egregious non-calls of these playoffs, given Kobe's directional elbows and Rajon Rondo's entire existence. You see hundreds of successful intentional fouls during an NBA season. Most involve the defender "wrapping up" the ball-handler. You reach across with one arm, then execute a hug to prevent a shot and ensure a foul call. Maybe that'd be impossible in such a heated, physical series, with tensions eternally on the cusp of explosion. But it's the standard way to intentionally foul. You wrap them up. (Just like in baseball, how an intentional ball is three feet off the plate. This play is like Wright tossing a pitch three inches off the plate that's called a strike -- it's an obvious ball, but Wright could have made it much, much more obvious, like everyone else does.)
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↵Anyways, that set-up is all meant to show how ridiculously petulant and immature the reaction of the Mavericks was. You'll want to pay close attention beginning at about the 57-second mark.
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↵ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵ ↵
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↵That's Mark Cuban pushing a cameraman for no apparent reason, followed by Josh Howard flipping out at midcourt before (allegedly) breaking a photographer's lens. Seriously. Details after the jump.
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↵The cameraman Cuban shoved was Bill Ellis of the local CBS affiliate. Cuban told the Dallas Morning News he didn't push Ellis, just "moved the camera aside." Right. Look at the video again. Cuban has a clear path -- Ellis even moves out of the tyrannical child's owner's way! And Cuban, as professional as ever, gives him a shove.
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↵The Howard incident wasn't televised in full -- we just see Howard jostling with member of the Nuggets, Kenyon Martin chief among them. But the Morning News' Brad Townsend got the story. ↵
↵⇥[A]ssistant coach Darrell Armstrong and a security person tried to pull Howard off the court. In their path was Dallas Morning News photographer Tom Fox. Fox said that as he backpedaled and started to lower his camera, Howard said "get that camera out of here."
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↵⇥Television replays and a still photo sequence show that Howard then swung his right arm up, striking the bottom of Fox's camera lens with the palm of his hand. Although Fox said he was unhurt, the blow bent the camera lens. ↵
↵For someone who seems so concerned with the future of the news media, Cuban's organization sure shows a lack of respect for the local media covering his team. If the whole blogger-banning stunt Cuban played with the Morning News was just gamesmanship, this crosses the line into plain hostility. If Howard did what is alleged, Cuban needs to provide punishment before the NBA does. I find it hard to believe that will happen, given Cuban's denial of his own culpability in raising the tensions and thus the opportunity for violence on the court.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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