Nowitzki: 'One of the dumber fouls'

ByTim MacMahon ESPN logo
Wednesday, December 3, 2014

CHICAGO -- The Dallas Mavericks' 132-129 double-overtime victory over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night wouldn't have been possible without a foul 17-year veteran Dirk Nowitzki called one of the dumbest he has seen.

Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich, a veteran in his 12th NBA season who has a reputation for being a smart player, committed the foul with 1.2 seconds remaining to send Mavs guard Monta Ellis to the line for the game-tying free throws.

"In my 17 years, it was one of the dumber fouls I've ever seen," Nowitzki said in a matter-of-fact tone. "You wait all the way until he dribbles to the 3-point line to grab him, so that's obviously a tough one, tough play. I saw coach [Tom] Thibodeau was just shaking his head."

With the Bulls leading by three points after Pau Gasol's free throws with 4.2 seconds remaining, Chicago had a foul to give. However, by the time Hinrich made contact, Ellis was in the motion of launching a 28-foot desperation runner.

"I waited too long. I messed it up," Hinrich said. "It was a bonehead play. I know better than that. This one's on me because I felt like we played a good game to that point. To get back to the point we were in a position to win. For them to tie it up on a play like that, it was a bad decision."

Thibodeau told the Bulls in the locker room that he was to blame for the foul and made the same point during his postgame news conference.

"That was my fault," Thibodeau said. "We wanted to take the foul, and I was not clear enough about how and where. Obviously, we wanted to take it in the backcourt; they were out of timeouts. It gets tricky when they get in the scoring area, if a guy is facing you. That was my fault."

Hinrich wasn't willing to let his coach take the blame for his boneheaded play.

"I've been around 12 years; I know better than that," Hinrich said. "It was one of those things where it was just a bad play. ... I know better than that. It's on me. [I'll] learn from it and move on."'s Nick Friedell contributed to this report.

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