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Are the refs kind to Detroit?

Mark Cuban isn't happy about the treatment that tough defensive teams like the Pistons and Spurs are receiving from the refs:

"What I don't understand is how the two most aggressive defensive teams in the league are Detroit and San Antonio," Cuban told the Dallas Morning News, "yet they've had the fewest fouls called against them. How does that happen? I don't understand it."

The Pistons are being whistled for an average of 19.57 fouls a game, the lowest in the league. San Antonio is next at 21. Cuban's team picks up 23.7 fouls per game.

Flip Saunders has a problem with Cuban's logic, saying pointing out that all brands of defense are not created equal:

"What good defensive teams do, a lot of times, is do their dirty work early," Saunders said. "You beat people to spots and you are quicker to where you are supposed to be. You create a situation where they are following you rather than you following them."

By looking only at the numbers, Saunders said, Cuban was ignoring how the games are played.

"Both us and San Antonio, although we are aggressive defensive teams, but we're not really high in creating turnovers and making steals," he said. "We might be aggressive on the ball, but everybody else is disciplined. We pack it inside. Teams like Charlotte, who get a lot of steals, they are more aggressive on the perimeter and pick up more fouls. Our aggressiveness is more on the inside, and the same goes for San Antonio.

"To make a blanket statement like that, you aren't looking at the defense the teams are playing."

Saunders is right -- San Antonio ranks 25th in the league in steals; Detroit, 25th. And oddly enough, the Spurs are Pistons are also ranked 25th and 26th, respectively, in turnovers forced.

And if the refs are so kind to Detroit, then how come they rank second in the league with 21 technical fouls? I like Mark Cuban a lot, but I think he's a bit misguided on this one.

Cuban complains about Pistons, Spurs [Detroit News]
Team-by-team comparisons [ESPN]