Mavericks 113, Spurs 91

27 points last night for Dallas’ Josh Howard (right), but importantly, a crucial 62 seconds of p.t. for Didier Illunga-Mbenga!

Hard to believe an NBA official could harbor serious animosity against Nick Van Exel.  A coach or teammate, sure, but a referee?

From the San Antonio Express News’ Mike Monroe :

When referee Steve Javie tossed Spurs backup point guard Nick Van Exel on Tuesday night, it resumed a history of ill will between the two.

The low point in their relationship came in 2001. Then playing for the Denver Nuggets, Van Exel claimed that Javie called him a “miserable person” during a game in Milwaukee. He also claimed Javie cursed at him, using an expression unprintable in a family newspaper.

Van Exel made it relatively easy for Javie to eject him with 7:30 remaining in the second quarter Tuesday, throwing a towel after leaving the game and taking a seat on the bench. That brought a technical foul from Javie, Van Exel’s second of the game.

Van Exel was dressed and gone from the Spurs’ locker room by the time the media was allowed inside.

He had, however, expressed previous frustration with Javie. After the incident in Milwaukee in 2001, Van Exel told the Denver Post that Javie “has been on me since I came into the league, basically.”

“(Javie) has a grudge,” Van Exel said then. “It’s not fair that you pretty much know that before the game starts.

“You get into a situation where an official says something like that to me, and if I was saying something like that to him, I would be in trouble. I would get a technical. I would get thrown out of the game. But he comes up to me and tells me that ‘You’re a miserable person’ and basically laughs in your face, and with a smirk, like ‘You can’t do anything about it.'”

Michael Finley, a teammate of Van Exel’s for parts of two seasons in Dallas, said he did not know what it was that got Van Exel ejected.

“I don’t even know how anything went down, to be honest with you,” Finley said. “I turned around and he was walking out of the gym.”

Nike’s “We Are All Witnesses” campaign on behalf of The Chosen One is a little too easy to make fun of….so here goes. Who knew you could sell sneakers with a slogan that referenced LeBron’s commitment to defending?