Johnson takes out frustration on officials
Mavericks coach upset at physical play near end of game
11:42 PM CDT on Saturday, April 23, 2005
By CALVIN WATKINS / The Dallas Morning News
Mavericks coach Avery Johnson was relaxing in a Plano barbershop getting a haircut and calmly talking basketball on Friday afternoon.
Saturday afternoon, after the Mavericks lost Game 1 of their first round series, 98-86, to Houston at the American Airlines Center, Johnson was yelling at referee Joey Crawford and needed to be restrained.
Johnson's first playoff game as a head coach didn't go as planned. He gets another chance for his first playoff victory Monday night in Game 2.
Johnson tried to make light of his screaming at Crawford when asked about it after the game.
"Joey was the ref in our final game in 1999 when we won the title and I just wanted to tell him how much I appreciated that," said Johnson, who won the title with San Antonio.
Johnson apparently was upset at the physical play toward the end of the game.
In the closing moments, Johnson walked toward midcourt and yelled at Crawford: "Joey you swallowed your whistle."
Crawford appeared to dismiss the comment.
At the final buzzer, Johnson, still steamed, was walking off the court yelling at Crawford. Johnson then turned around and went after Crawford near midcourt, until he was restrained.
"Well I think we're upset we didn't get some calls down at the end," Mavericks forward Keith Van Horn said. "When you lose you have a tendency of getting on officials a little more than when you win. We will get those calls. We just have to stick with it."
Van Horn didn't believe the game was any more physical than most playoff games. The Mavericks were called for seven fewer fouls than the Rockets and went to the foul line 22 more times.
Yet, it was the start of the game that hurt Dallas as it shot 31.6 percent from the field in the first quarter and trailed 26-16.
"This wasn't one of the best games we've played over the last three or four weeks," Johnson said. "I can't remember a game where we didn't score and play good defense. Give Houston credit. They played good, tough physical defense. We got to the line, but we didn't make enough field goals."
After his promotion from assistant coach to head coach in March, Johnson has stressed defense more than offense.
Houston's perimeter players got open looks because of penetration by Tracy McGrady. The Rockets shot 47.4 percent from the field with McGrady leading the way with 34 points and Mike James adding 16 points off the bench on 7-13 shooting.