Cuban airs grievances over Game 5 officiating
ESPN.com news services
DALLAS -- By the time Mark Cuban arrived in the Dallas Mavericks
' locker room, he'd already peeled off the Jerry Stackhouse
jersey he had been wearing in support of his suspended forward.
The symbolism was fitting: Stackhouse's hard foul in Game 4 of the NBA Finals was old news. The way Game 5 finished, Cuban had a whole new fight on his hands.
Cuban was irate over what he considered a series of officiating breakdowns at the end of Dallas' 101-100 overtime loss to the Miami Heat on Sunday night. The loss left the Mavericks trailing the series 3-2 and facing elimination going into Game 6 in Dallas on Tuesday night.
When time ran out in Game 5, Cuban ran onto the court to vent at official Joe DeRosa, then stared down and screamed toward commissioner David Stern and a group of league officials, from the court, then the stands.
Cuban was still boiling about a half-hour later during a testy interview with reporters.
He wrote a blog entry Monday explaining why he used profanity during a response to a question about whether this was the worst loss he'd endured.
"The reality is that it would be a waste of both of our time if I gave him the 'This was a tough one' answer, and a waste of my time to really think about it, particularly given there were 10 other reporters wanting to ask questions and we had a bus to catch," Cuban wrote.
His mind-set is perhaps better explained in a posting left a few minutes before titled, "Right is its own defense."
Cuban wrote about applying that catchphrase -- which he picked up from an old T-shirt -- to a business venture he's pursuing. He added that the slogan applies to the way he runs the Mavericks.
"I'm going to do what I think is right. Period end of story," he wrote. "You may not like that I want the officiating in the NBA to get better. I think it's the right thing to do."
NBA executives often praise Cuban for his passion, work ethic and high standards, even toward officiating.
It's his approach they're not always fond of, which is why he's been fined more than $1.2 million since buying the team in January 2000. That includes a $200,000 tab this postseason.
A league spokesman said Monday that Stu Jackson, the NBA disciplinarian, was not at Game 5 and had not reviewed what happened. Even if a punishment is assessed against Cuban, the league doesn't have to announce it.
Cuban practically turned getting fined into an art form after going from an owner of season tickets to owning the Mavericks.
One comment about him not hiring the league's head of officiating to manage a Dairy Queen landed Cuban as a manager for a day; he also donned pinstripes and officiated a Harlem Globetrotters game.
As his team improved, there were fewer stunts. He remained a visible, vocal critic, though, enough for some to suggest that his team ends up not getting the benefit of the doubt from officials.
Mavs supporters have brought that up again in the wake of three players getting suspended this postseason, with Stackhouse the most recent.
Dallas had a chance to win without its top reserve, leading by 11 points early and by four late in the fourth quarter. Miami ended up winning on a pair of free throws by Dwyane Wade
with 1.9 seconds left in overtime.
Cuban had several gripes about the play that sent Wade to the line, starting with Wade not being whistled for a collision that left Dallas' Jason Terry
on the floor.
"I guess that's not a call," Cuban said. "I guess that's not a foul."
An assistant coach later showed Cuban that Wade appeared to commit a backcourt violation before the contact with Terry. It's hard to tell on replays because of the giant championship trophy logo at midcourt.
"My understanding from the rule book is, if you are going to catch the ball in the backcourt, you have to be in the backcourt to catch it," Cuban said.
But the NBA pointed out Monday that there was no violation on the play, citing a rule that allows a player to go into the backcourt to receive an inbound pass during the last two minutes of the fourth quarter or any overtime period.
Between Wade's free throws, Dallas was charged its final timeout. The Mavs insist they were only talking about calling it after Wade's second foul shot so they could set up a final play and move the ball to the frontcourt.
goes to Joe DeRosa and not only once, but twice asks for a timeout," crew chief Joey Crawford told a pool reporter. "Forced to call it, simple as that."
Something else Mavericks followers are quick to note: Wade alone took 25 free throws, the same number as the entire Dallas team. The Heat took a total of 49 free throws.
"I don't know," Cuban said of the discrepancy. "I guess they got fouled more."