Wednesday night’s game between the Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons got chippy, but not in the way you’d expect. During the third quarter of an eventual 102-96 loss to Detroit, Mavericks point guard Deron Williams was assessed a technical foul by official David Jones.
The thing is, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle believes Williams was baited into the infraction. From the outside looking in, he’s probably not wrong. In the video above, Jones clearly goes out of his way to confront Williams, who was at the Mavs bench, after the two spoke separately. Once Williams responded, Jones T’d him up. (Detroit’s Reggie Jackson missed the ensuing free throw.)
“For the first time in a 33-year NBA career, I saw a referee make a point of going out of his way and walking into our huddle and baiting one of our guys into getting a technical,” Carlisle said after the game (via ESPN.com). “I’ve never seen anything like that in my years in this league. I don’t see how that can ever be excusable.”
Of course, it’s hard to know exactly what was said. That’s usually pertinent information. But it’s still strange to see Jones, a veteran 26 years as a ref according to ESPN, keep a conversation going. You even see a Mavs assistant try to break up the situation.
Jones, by the way, declined comment for the article. Williams kept his feelings hidden.
“I made a decision about 10 years [ago] in my career that I wasn’t going to comment about officials,” Williams added. “Save my money. I already got a technical. That’s money right there, so I’m not going to comment any further and risk any more money.”
Ultimately, there’s accountability on both sides because Williams and Jones had opportunities to walk away. (Williams did, then went back.) Still, this was an odd move by Jones, and Carlisle likely has a point. What repercussions either side faces from the league remains to be seen.