NBA ref Crawford reinstated

Posted: September 17, 2007

Referee Joe Crawford, who was suspended April 17 following a confrontation with San Antonio star Tim Duncan two days earlier, was reinstated by the NBA today, according to a statement from the league.

"Based on my meeting with Joey Crawford, his commitment to an ongoing counseling program, and a favorable professional evaluation that was performed at my direction, I am satisfied that Joey understands the standards of game management and professionalism the NBA expects from him and that he will be able to conduct himself in accordance with those standards," commissioner David Stern said.

Crawford, a Newtown Square resident and Cardinal O'Hara graduate who has officiated more than 2,000 NBA regular-season games, met with Stern and three other league executives on July 31.

Crawford was suspended after ejecting Duncan on two technical fouls in the third quarter of what became a 91-86 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. The second technical came as Duncan was laughing on the bench, creating just the second ejection of his career.

The loss also dropped the Spurs - the eventual league champions for the fourth time in nine seasons - to the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference, ending any chance of catching the Phoenix Suns for the No. 2 seed.

Without Duncan, the Spurs did not manage a field goal in the final 6:32 of the game and were outscored 9-0 at the end.

"He looked at me and said, 'Do you want to fight? Do you want to fight?' " Duncan said at the time. "If he wants to fight, we can fight. I don't have any problem with him, but we can do it if he wants to. I have no reason why in the middle of a game he would yell at me, 'Do you want to fight?' "

Crawford, speaking to a pool reporter at the time, said Duncan "was complaining the whole game."

Stern quickly took action, saying the suspension would last at least through the NBA Finals. The league fined Duncan $25,000 for verbal abuse of an official.

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