If you’d told me the aftermath of yesterday’s Mavs/Spurs game would include one of the funnier he said/he said exchanges of the season, I probably wouldn’t have predicted the adversaries. But surely we can all sympathize with the plight of referee Joey Crawford, forced to content with noted bench jockey/reprobate….Tim Duncan? From the San Antonio Express News’ Johnny Ludden.
Tim Duncan was ejected for just the second time in his career after referee Joey Crawford gave him two technical fouls while he sat on the bench late in the third quarter of Dallas’ 91-86 victory Sunday afternoon.
Sounding almost as amused as frustrated, Duncan accused Crawford of having a “personal vendetta” against him and said the veteran referee asked him whether he wanted to fight.
“Before he gave me the two technical fouls, he made a call and I was shaking my head, and he walks down and stares at me,” Duncan said. “He says, ‘Do you want to fight? Do you want to fight?’ I didn’t say anything to him there, either.”
Shortly after Duncan went to the bench with 2:40 left in the third quarter, Manu Ginobili was called for a reach-in foul on Mavericks guard Jason Terry. Duncan, who could be fined for his comments, said he and Michael Finley both told referee Leroy Richardson the play should have been a clean steal.
“And Joey,” Duncan said, “comes across the court and gives me a technical foul.”
After Fabricio Oberto was called for a blocking foul a little more than a minute later, Duncan laughed and briefly put his head in a towel. Crawford gave him another technical, resulting in an automatic ejection.
Duncan said the only time he talked to Crawford was on an earlier play when he thought Dirk Nowitzki fouled him on a shot attempt.
“Joey knew exactly what he was doing,” said Duncan, who had 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists in 27 minutes. “He came into this game with a personal vendetta against me. It had to be. I didn’t do anything this entire game.”
After the ejection, Duncan appeared to mouth, “Piece of (bleep)” at Crawford as he walked off the court. Crawford spoke to a pool reporter before Duncan made his accusations.
“He was complaining the whole time,” Crawford said. “And then he went over to the bench and he was over there doing the same stuff behind our back.
“I hit him with one (technical) and he kept going over there, laughing, and I look over there and he’s still complaining. So I threw him out.”
Asked about Duncan’s assertion that he didn’t say anything to warrant a technical, Crawford said, “He called me a piece of (bleep)? Is that nothing?”