Yeah, yeah, given the non-call that helped the Nuggets win game three of their playoff series against the Mavericks on Saturday, complaining about the officiating in the Mavs' 119-117 victory last night seems churlish. But there's no denying that the outcome bore the fingerprints of the NBA's most intrusive referee, the ultra-irritating Steve Javie. The guy's so technical-foul-happy that he'd deserve the nickname Mr. T if a certain former A-Team star hadn't already claimed the moniker -- and while the Mavs got the worst of his tech frenzy, earning four to the Nuggets' three, Denver repeatedly came up on the short end of dubious foul calls down the stretch. Carmelo Anthony got ticketed for getting hit in the face -- how dare he! -- while Kenyon Martin was punished at one point for doing little more than breathing on Dirk Nowitzki. Don't know if this tendency was a premeditated reaction to the way the last contest ended or an unconscious one -- but as a Nuggets fan, it sure as hell was aggravating to watch. Ever heard that old saw about letting the players decide the game? It's a good philosophy...
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That said, the Nuggets came closer to a sweep than I'd anticipated; I thought the Mavs' anger would have led to a twenty-point triumph. And getting to finish off Dallas at home on Wednesday (which the Nugs will) means less of a wait until the next series starts a week from today. Hence, last night was hardly a disaster -- aside from Steve Javie's usual flagrant behavior, that is.