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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Blazer fans had it right: Mark Wunderlich is a lousy referee

The referees in yesterday's pro basketball playoff game between the Denver Nuggets and the Dallas Mavericks missed a crucial call at the very end of the contest that handed the game, and the playoff series, to Denver. So egregious was the mistake that the league actually admitted it after the game.

The offending officiating crew were no. 15 Bennett Salvatore, no. 18 Mark Wunderlich, and no. 41 Ken Mauer. It was Wunderlich (left) who missed the call.
Remember that Blazer playoff game in which the officials were so bad that the crowd chanted "These refs suck"? As bush league as it was for the Portland crowd to do that, it was right -- the refs in question really did a lousy job. And guess what. Wunderlich was in that crew, along with no. 55 Bill Kennedy and no. 49 Tom Washington. Two of that three did a crummy job two nights later for the Mavericks and the Spurs.

Wunderlich's history in previous playoffs is not impressive:

The official closest to the play was Mark Wunderlich, the same official who did not call a foul on Los Angeles' Derek Fisher at the end of Game 4 of last year's Western Conference finals.
Now that he's screwed up an important series beyond repair, Wunderlich needs the rest of the playoffs off. Is he incompetent, or is he on the take?

Comments (17)

Note that those are not two mutually exclusive states; he could be both, with the former helping provide cover for the latter.

Maybe Wunderlich is just trying to spare us all of having to see Mark Cuban's mug constantly being shown on future TV broadcasts.

If Carmelo misses that shot, (and it was a tough shot) I guarantee the Mavs say nothing about the missed call.

Does anyone know the reasoning behind fouling in that situation? I really don't get it. You're up two with four seconds left, the last thing you want is to stop the clock and let the other team shoot free throws.

That said, the officiating in the NBA is abysmal. And I'm with Jack. I doubt Donaghy was the only ref on the take.

Yes, but was he really in a position to see the foul? ;)

They had a foul to give.
Denver wouldn't have shot freethrows. They would have thrown it in from the side burning precious time.

An unfortunate error, obviously. But not as egregiously bad as it might seem. Check out the photo. Wunderlich is exactly in position, but as Anthony drives and the foul happens, he's screened by Anthony's body. Can Wunderlich see the contact from where he is? I don't think he can.

It's not an excuse--he should have made the call. But I can see why he missed it--buzzard's luck.

I've met Wunderlich. He's a good guy. I promise he's devastated, and I also promise he's not crooked.


They weren't in the penalty, you foul once they have their offense set up, now they need to start over and inbound the ball wasting a couple seconds setting up again.

Teams do it all the time, you'll hear the announcers say they have a foul to give, that is what it means.

That is what makes the call even more egregious, everyone in the arena and watching on TV knew they were gonna foul on purpose there, absurd to not call it.

That makes two years in a row that there has been a bad call against the Mavs that the league has admitted after the fact. I'm no Cuban fan, but it is hard to not be a wild conspiracy theorist when it keeps happening.

This is like yelling at a WWF ref for having his back turned when someone throws in the "foreign object". The NBA is mostly fake and outcomes heavily influenced by league revenues and profit margins.

They had a foul to give.
Denver wouldn't have shot freethrows. They would have thrown it in from the side burning precious time.

Okay, that makes sense. Then yeah, the refs totally blew that call. They should have anticipated the foul.

I also want to mention that Bennett Salvatore refereed the 2006 NBA Finals between the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat.

Controversy swarmed around Bennett Salvatore for his plethora of calls that sent Dwyane Wade to the free throw line.

The same NBA Finals where Dwyane Wade shot more free throws than the entire Dallas Mavericks team.

Wunderlich is a moron...

Coach is 3 feet behind him yelling, Get him, Get him, Get him. The play is 5 feet in front of him with body checking bumps like in hockey occuring and he just stands there and watches. F'in idiot! ! !

I think the NBA should try a year of no refs at all, see how it turns out. It's a controlled free-for-all now, just make it a free-for-all like pro wrestling with one fake ref that slams the mat three times to end the game.

The game is much too fast for the officials.

I think they are guessing half the time.

They make calls in the first quarter they would never make in a close game in the fourth quarter.

They make calls in regular season games they would never make in the playoffs.

And they regularly give the great players - Lebron James, Kobe Bryant & Dwayne Wade - the benefit of the doubt.

They are as star struck as the fans.

Don't expect too much from them.

Bad performance all around, except for Carmelo Anthony, who hit a monster shot. Somehow that gets lost in all the berating of the officials.

As bad as the ref was, he didn't hand the Nuggets anything other than a shot at a tough three-pointer with time running out. At best, even for a shooter like Carmelo Anthony, that's a 40% shot, which is hardly a guaranteed make.

Also lost in the shuffle is the bad foul by the Mavs player. If you watch the tape, immediately after the foul he pulled his hands back in the classic, "I didn't touch him" gesture. I don't know if that had any bearing on the ref's non-call, but it was the wrong move. If he had just wrapped his arms around Anthony in a hug, it's an easy call plus there's no chance for either a shot or a flagrant foul - and for some reason, the NBA doesn't call "two shots plus the ball" in such obvious fouling situations. Never has, never will.

I'm not defending the ref here - he blew the call. Given his track record, I'm puzzled why he's working during the playoffs. But let's try to give Anthony the credit he deserves for hitting a truly clutch shot.

What I want to know is this: Why, since the league is acknowledging the error, can't they just replay the final four por five seconds of that game?

The league did that two years ago for a Miami-Atlanta game in which Shaquille O'Neal was erroneously thought to have fouled out of the game. Commissioner David Stern ordered the teams to replay the final 52 second of that game three months later, by which time O'Neal had been traded to Phoenix.


The NBA will only replay games where there has been a misapplication of a rule, not one with a mistaken judgement call. The O'Neal play is the former; the Anthony play the latter.

I have known Mark Wunderlich my whole life, since he played for St. Philomena in grade school. He is a stand up guy and would never be on the take. He was not in a good position to see it.

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