(Jeff tries to warn the refs that HDNet is mostly showing crap movies no one liked in the first place, and really isn’t worth the extra money).

…for Jeff Van Gundy to get into the officials’ heads. The former Knicks coach has already been through these sort of mind games with Pat Reilly and Phil Jackson in prior lifetimes, so in this instance, I think the Benefactor is fighting the battle of wits short of ammunition. The same cannot be said for the Mavericks, however, who tip off against the Rockets in the Western Conference first round series the Home Teams Don’t Wanna Win in just a few minutes.

From the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feingen. `

The fix might not be in, but Jeff Van Gundy said something with the NBA is very much broken.

If his team isn’t having enough trouble with the Mavericks ” and it is ” Van Gundy said the Rockets, and particularly Yao Ming, must also go against the officials, the NBA and Mark Cuban’s willingness to pay any fine.

Van Gundy said he had been tipped by an NBA official that the league had ordered its referees to treat Yao differently than other players, a charge Van Gundy said his review of game tapes has confirmed.

“When you review his fouls, he looked ” you’ve got to give Mark Cuban credit,” Van Gundy said. “They said it on TNT last night. He’s been calling and calling about Yao. You’ve got to give the guy credit. He’s taken a lot of fines in his time. He’s been on them hard. He’s gotten the benefit.

“Before Game 3, I got a call from another official in the NBA who’s not in the playoffs that I’ve known forever, and he told me they were looking at Yao harder because of Mark’s complaints. It proved prophetic, really, the last couple games. I didn’t think that really worked in the NBA, but in this case it has.”

“That’s crazy,” Cuban said of Van Gundy’s charge. “It’s also an insult to officials. They don’t officiate individual players differently. Did he notice that Damp (Erick Dampier) has gotten two quick fouls in every game and has been limited by foul trouble? Has he ever looked at Shawn Bradley’s fouls per minute? They both seem to have the same type of fouls called on them.

“I will tell you what we did do, and I can tell you it has had zero impact on the officiating of the games. We sent in a list of what we thought could be moving screens on Yao and Dikembe from a game in the series. We wanted clarification from the league if our assessment of what was going on was correct. The league came back and told us of the 28 that we turned in from this game, nine were actually moving screens and should have been called but were not.

“We have the same type of examples from every game in the series. So if anything, he has it completely backward.”

I must confess, I’ve never looked up Shawn Bradley’s fouls per minute, but if Cuban is surprised that the Moronic Missionary isn’t getting any respect from referees, he’s been paying even less attention than me.