DALLAS – Danny Crawford, the referee considered a Dallas Mavericks nemesis before this postseason, will be the lead official for Sunday night’s NBA Finals Game 2 against the Miami Heat.
The Mavericks had a 2-16 record is playoff games officiated by Crawford during Mark Cuban’s ownership tenure, including a run of 16 losses in 17 games, until the veteran referee worked Game 2 of the first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Dallas won that game after Crawford’s assignment was the focus of much media attention throughout the day. Crawford also worked Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, when the Mavericks rallied from a 15-point deficit of the fourth quarter in an overtime win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“We have no concerns about the fairness of Danny Crawford's officiating in Dallas games, whether in the playoffs or regular season," NBA senior vice president of referee operations Ron Johnson said via email the day he worked the Mavericks-Blazers game in the first round. "And there has never been any consideration given to not scheduling Crawford or any other referee to a particular team's games."
Scott Foster and Derrick Stafford are the other officials assigned to Game 3. Jason Phillips will be the alternate.
The most memorable Mavericks playoff game worked by Crawford was Game 3 of the 2006 Finals in Miami. The Heat rallied from 13 points down midway through the fourth quarter for Miami’s first of four consecutive wins. Crawford also worked Game 6, when Miami closed the series with a win on Dallas’ home court.
The Heat had a 71-49 free throw advantage in those two Finals games. The Mavericks had attempted an average of 6.8 fewer free throws than their opponents in playoff games worked by Crawford until this postseason.
In the two games worked by Crawford this postseason, the Mavs have a 65-52 free throw advantage.