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News » Mahinmi shines despite ref's error

Mahinmi shines despite ref's error

Mahinmi shines despite ref's error MIAMI - When he has been healthy enough to suit up and play, Spurs center Ian Mahinmi often has had his progression as an NBA-caliber player retarded by foul problems. So, a mistake by one of the replacement referees working Sunday's 95-93 Spurs preseason victory over the Heat at American Airlines Arena seemed especially cruel.

With 8:08 left in the first quarter, Spurs guard Roger Mason Jr. grabbed the arm of Heat forward Joel Anthony to stop Anthony from going up for an easy basket. Referee Nick Buchert called the obvious foul, but then reported to the official scorer that the foul was on No. 50.

Informed by the scorer that the Spurs had no player wearing No. 50, Buchert changed the foul to No. 28 - Mahinmi.

Mahinmi had started the game because Spurs coach Gregg Popovich wanted an opportunity to see him against quality opposition for a long stretch.

When Mahinmi picked up two more fouls in the next 21/2 minutes, Popovich sat him for the remainder of the first half.

Mahinmi was back on the court at the start of the second half. This time, he managed to play 16-plus minutes, getting called for only one more personal foul. He finished with nine points, three rebounds, three blocked shots and some encouragement from Popovich.

"I thought this was his best outing so far,' Popovich said. "He really showed his athleticism and shot blocking ability."

Veteran move: When guard Curtis Jerrells missed a 20-foot jumper with 16 seconds left, Miami's Daequan Cook tracked down the rebound, dribbled into the frontcourt and called time out, with 9.5 seconds remaining, and the Spurs leading 95-93.

The Heat ran the play coach Erik Spoelstra diagrammed for them, freeing Cook for a 3-point try just ahead of the buzzer. Cook's shot missed, leaving the Spurs with a victory and both Popovich and Spoelstra smiling at the wisdom of avoiding overtime in a meaningless exhibition game.

Stars sitting: Spurs stars Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili didn't even make the trip to Miami, given a couple of days rest by Popovich. Spoelstra was taking no chances with two of his stars. Dwyane Wade (strained rib) and Jermaine O'Neal (sprained ankle) didn't suit up.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 13, 2009


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