Mavericks vs. Blazers Game 2: A Quick Look at the "Crawford" Case

I have to admit that this piece came out of nowhere. As soon as I figured today that Dan Crawford would be part of the officiating crew in tonight's game and followed the reactions throughout the Mavericks community, I knew I had to write something about it. Unfortunately in this short time frame I was only able to prepare the data of this regular season properly. I would have loved to look into this case over multiple seasons and especially previous playoff games as the Mavericks are 2-16 in playoff games officiated by Dan Crawford. But this years data also offers interesting observations and surely I'll be able to come back with extended data at a certain point.

Another hot topic about tonight's game is the free throw disparity in Game 1 in favor of the Mavericks. So we'll combine these two topic, because called fouls and free throws, as we unfortunately know from Tim Donaghy, are the areas where officials can influence the game the most. So let's start with the overall numbers from around the league:

Away PF Home PF Away FTA Home FTA Diff PF Diff FTA
League Average
21.12 20.27 23.83 24.88 -0.85 1.05


All values are shown on a per 100 possession basis. This was somewhat expected. The home teams are called for 0.85 fewer fouls while attempting 1.05 more free throws. This is therefore the average home court advantage in terms of fouls and free throws every team gets.

DAL PF OPP PF DAL FTA OPP FTA Diff PF Diff FTA
Dallas at Home
21.09 22.16 25.16 25.26 -1.07 -0.10
Dallas on the Road
20.87 22.02 24.42 23.36 -1.15 1.06
Dallas Overall
20.99 22.09 24.80 24.33 -1.10 0.47


These are the Mavericks values. By the way: You are able to sort the tables by clicking on the headers. Have fun with it. Surprisingly "home cooking" doesn't apply for the American Airlines Center. Dallas actually attempts fewer free throws than the opposing teams. They are a very good team in foul differential at home and on the road, but the majority of the attempted free throw differential comes on the road. Let's move on to the referees:

Referee Away PF Home PF Away FTA Home FTA Diff PF Diff FTA
Bennett Salvatore 21.35 20.25 23.81 25.48 -1.10 1.67
Bennie Adams 21.63 20.99 24.63 25.28 -0.64 0.66
Bill Kennedy 21.20 20.68 24.86 25.89 -0.52 1.03
Bill Spooner 20.60 19.50 22.90 23.66 -1.10 0.76
Bob Delaney 20.89 19.86 23.13 24.20 -1.03 1.08
Brent Barnaky 20.29 19.75 23.29 25.55 -0.54 2.27
Brian Forte 21.25 21.35 24.51 25.11 0.11 0.60
Courtney Kirkland 22.29 20.38 24.03 26.49 -1.91 2.46
Curtis Blair 21.82 20.72 25.25 26.75 -1.11 1.51
Dan Crawford 20.24 19.61 23.23 23.44 -0.63 0.21
David Guthrie 19.84 19.93 23.23 24.46 0.10 1.23
David Jones 21.28 20.37 24.98 25.80 -0.91 0.82
Derek Richardson 21.64 21.32 25.10 25.31 -0.32 0.20
Derrick Collins 21.65 20.50 24.29 24.31 -1.15 0.01
Derrick Stafford 22.29 21.41 25.09 25.13 -0.88 0.04
Dick Bavetta 22.48 21.64 25.2 27.22 -0.84 2.02
Ed Malloy 20.74 20.44 23.57 24.25 -0.29 0.68
Eli Roe 21.60 21.26 25.51 25.89 -0.34 0.38
Eric Dalen 20.15 18.80 21.59 24.14 -1.36 2.54
Eric Lewis 21.27 20.82 24.65 25.74 -0.45 1.09
Gary Zielinski 21.64 20.00 23.59 25.64 -1.64 2.05
Greg Willard 21.38 20.63 24.81 25.00 -0.75 0.19
Haywoode Workman 20.90 20.12 23.66 24.38 -0.78 0.72
James Capers 21.85 20.70 25.23 24.53 -1.15 -0.70
James Williams 21.58 20.36 24.15 25.05 -1.22 0.90
Jason Phillips 21.25 19.66 23.65 26.37 -1.59 2.72
Joe Crawford 20.52 19.76 23.34 23.71 -0.76 0.37
John Gobel 17.50 19.50 19.75 20.50 2.00 0.75
John Goble 21.47 19.63 22.66 25.59 -1.84 2.94
Josh Tiven 20.83 20.17 24.48 25.43 -0.66 0.95
Jt Orr 20.88 22.25 27.00 23.88 1.38 -3.13
Kane Fitzgerald 21.33 20.78 24.17 23.75 -0.56 -0.43
Karl Lane 21.90 18.90 21.60 25.10 -3.00 3.50
Ken Mauer 21.38 19.30 23.13 25.47 -2.08 2.34
Kevin Cutler 20.79 19.91 23.46 24.28 -0.88 0.82
Kevin Fehr 21.06 19.46 22.60 25.24 -1.60 2.63
Kevin Scott 20.50 17.63 18.75 24.25 -2.88 5.50
Leon Wood 21.52 20.31 23.20 24.70 -1.21 1.51
Leroy Richardson 21.13 19.81 23.22 24.79 -1.33 1.57
Marat Kogut 21.19 20.03 22.81 25.84 -1.16 3.03
Marc Davis 21.07 20.91 25.29 25.39 -0.16 0.10
Mark Ayotte 20.39 19.47 23.31 24.66 -0.92 1.35
Mark Lindsay 21.02 19.36 23.61 24.38 -1.66 0.77
Matt Boland 21.31 21.07 24.83 24.43 -0.24 -0.40
Michael Smith 21.53 20.81 23.36 25.63 -0.72 2.27
Mike Callahan 21.10 20.44 24.02 24.60 -0.65 0.59
Monty Mccutchen 20.27 20.05 22.80 23.85 -0.23 1.05
Nick Buchert 21.23 21.03 25.10 24.30 -0.20 -0.80
Olandis Poole 20.42 20.03 22.89 24.25 -0.39 1.36
Pat Fraher 20.35 19.62 23.68 25.03 -0.72 1.35
Phil Robinson 22.00 23.00 29.00 32.00 1.00 3.00
Rodney Mott 20.79 20.25 23.13 24.28 -0.54 1.15
Ron Garretson 20.23 18.63 21.87 24.17 -1.60 2.30
Scott Bolnick 21.38 22.75 28.50 26.00 1.38 -2.50
Scott Foster 22.17 21.80 25.62 25.58 -0.38 -0.04
Scott Twardoski 22.29 22.00 25.71 25.71 -0.29 0,00
Scott Wall 20.92 19.58 23.36 24.53 -1.34 1.17
Sean Wright 20.89 21.29 25.67 23.92 0.39 -1.74
Steve Javie 19.57 18.88 21.02 22.06 -0.69 1.04
Tom Washington 21.15 19.45 22.94 25.22 -1.70 2.28
Tommy Nunez Jr. 21.53 19.37 22.95 25.12 -2.16 2.16
Tony Brothers 21.49 20.40 23.06 25.37 -1.09 2.31
Tony Brown 20.15 19.42 22.62 23.62 -0.74 1.00
Tre Maddox 23.38 23.75 30.25 28.13 0.38 -2.13
Violet Palmer 22.09 21.76 24.81 25.26 -0.33 0.45
Zach Zarba 20.92 21.33 24.67 23.23 0.41 -1.44


If you sort the table by the Free Throw Differential you'll notice that most of the referees grant the home team the advantage in free throws attempted. Dan Crawford is one of them. But he ranks below the average with 0.63 fouls and 0.21 attempted free throws in favor of the home team. Did his numbers change significantly while officiating the Mavericks this season?

DAL PF OPP PF DAL FTA OPP FTA Diff PF Diff FTA
Dallas at Home
22.33 21.23 23.79 21.96 1.10 1.83
Dallas on the Road
22.37 17.40 26.28 25.57 4.97 0.71
Dallas Overall
22.36 19.30 25.07 23.81 3.06 1.26


The good news is: With Dan Crawford officiating, Dallas actually attempts 1.26 more free throws as the opposing team compared to only 0.47 overall. At home this number increases to 1.83. The bad news is: Dallas is normally a team that commits fewer fouls than the opponent. With Dan Crawford officiating they aren't able to keep this edge. Not at home and especially not on the road. While the average home team commits 0.85 fewer fouls than the opponent, Dallas commits 1.10 more under the whistles of Dan Crawford. That's a difference of 1.95 fouls per 100 possessions. On the road this number increases to 4.97, which is a difference of 4.12 fouls per 100 possessions. Furthermore, in games officiated by Dan Crawford, the Mavs are committing more fouls than usual while at the same time the opponent commits fewer than usual. Coincidence?
So which players of the Mavericks are affected the most by these increased calls?

Player PF per game /w Crawford Difference
Shawn Marion 1.81 2.20 0.39
Dirk Nowitzki 2.36 2.40 0.04
Jason Terry 1.72 2.33 0.61
Peja Stojakovic 0.92 2.00 1.08
Tyson Chandler 3.21 3.00 -0.21
DeShawn Stevenson 1.01 1.80 0.79
Jason Kidd 1.47 0.67 -0.80
Brendan Haywood 2.01 2.20 0.19
Brian Cardinal 1.61 1.25 -0.36
Jose Barea 1.67 1.83 0.16
Ian Mahinmi 1.98 2.20 0.22
Rodrigue Beaubois 2.71 2.00 -0.71


I was surprised again. It seems that the additional calls are exclusively shared within the SG and SF spot. Matrix, Peja, Terry and Stevenson take the load here. It should be noted that these positions are guarding the opponents best wing players most of the time so it seems like the "superstar calls" are increasing for the opponent. Does 2006 and Dwayne Wade ring a bell?

This is far away from a complete survey about Dan Crawford and the Mavericks because I lack more data of previous seasons and especially postseasons, but the observations of this season offer enough controversy to extend the conversations I guess. Especially with Nate McMillan adding fuel to the fire.

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