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The Early Lead
Posted at 11:38 AM ET, 02/02/2012

Mark Cuban rips referees after Thunder beat Mavericks


Time to dust off the ol’ checkbook, Mark. (Bret Hartman - AP)
Complaining about NBA officiating is one of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s favorite pastimes.

He’s practically the Robin Ficker of NBA owners.

But recently, Cuban — who has already forked over more than $1 million to the NBA in fines — has done his best to keep his mouth shut.

So much for that effort. After his Mavericks lost to the Western-Conference leading Oklahoma City Thunder, 95-86, on Wednesday night in Dallas, Cuban went off on the officials yet again.

“Look, I haven’t said a whole lot about the officiating in a long, long time, but I haven’t seen it this bad in a long, long time,” Cuban told ESPNDallas.com. “Guys miss calls; that’s part of the game. You’re not always going to have a great crew. Officials have got to learn that’s part of the game.

“But these were officials that have been part of the league for years, and it was just off-the-charts bad. And, if no one ever says anything, nothing ever happens.”

Maybe the lockout-shortened training camp took a toll on NBA officials as well.

Believe it or not, the Thunder were actually whistled for more personal fouls (20) than their hosts (18), but Oklahoma City shot eight more free throws and Dallas coach Rick Carlisle was forced to watch the end of the fourth quarter from the locker room.


Jason Terry, right, took a shot to the noggin from Kevin Durant. (Tony Gutierrez - AP)
After getting his first technical foul for complaining about a no-call on one of Serge Ibaka’s career-high 10 blocks, Carlisle earned his second tech minutes later when he kicked the basketball into the stands. It looked like Carlisle was trying to boot it back to an official, but his soccer skills appear to be lacking. Carlisle immediately apologized to the fans, and received a standing ovation after his ejection.

“I want to apologize to our franchise, Mark, our fans,” Carlisle said after the game. “The incident where the ball got kicked into the stands — that can’t happen. My intent was not to kick it into the stands, I was trying to kick it to the referee, but I’m not a very good kick. But, that can’t happen; the officials made the right call on that one. That’s a regrettable situation.”

Cuban took little issue with the ejection, but felt the Mavericks deserved a few more trips to the free throw line.

“It all comes down to this: I understand that it's tough for the officials now," Cuban said. “They're going through the same travel stress as everybody else, but there's absolutely no transparency right now. I mean, you get games like tonight where it was just horrible. Who knows, I'm not saying it impacted the game, but you can just start naming the calls.

“All I'm saying is some of these guys are bad. Let me rephrase that. Some of these guys are having really bad nights, and it's having an impact. The league's got to come out and say, 'OK, look, we understand they're going through some tough travel or whatever. It's just the way it is.' Otherwise, if that's not an impact, you have to wonder how some of these crews are still on the court.”

Cuban is well-versed in this area, so his checkbook is likely already out on his desk. How stiff will the fine be this time?

By  |  11:38 AM ET, 02/02/2012

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