DALLAS – Mavericks owner Mark Cuban believes officials missed two crucial calls during Dallas' 18-point meltdown during the fourth quarter of a Game 4 loss to Portland. He's so sure of it, he's "absolutely" willing to be fined for voicing his complaints.
"Just so that it's on the record," he said before Game 5 on Monday night.
Cuban has an extensive, expensive history of being fined by the league office, especially for griping about officiating. He's toned down his public outbursts in recent years, yet knew what he was doing when he spoke out this time.
Cuban was irked most by a charge called on Dirk Nowitzki with 2:16 left and the Mavericks leading 80-74.
"I thought they missed it," Cuban said. "I'm positive they missed it. ... Once you go up, a guy can't step in front of you. He has to be set before he goes up and he wasn't. It's a tough call, though. So it's not a shock that somebody misses it because it's a very tough call."
The Trail Blazers followed with a basket that got them within four points. Had a blocking foul been called on Portland's Gerald Wallace, the basket would've counted and Nowitzki would have shot a free throw, possibly stretching the lead to nine.
"If the call goes the other way, and it's an and-one on Dirk for a charge, we're having a completely different conversation right now," Cuban said during an interview that was heavy on questions about this collapse adding to the team's history of playoff flameouts.
The other play was when Dallas' Tyson Chandler picked up his fifth foul with 6:40 left.
Cuban said both plays already had been sent to league office with a request for a review. He said they hadn't heard back.
The NBA already has policed comments on officiating this series, fining Portland coach Nate McMillan $35,000 for complaining about the wide discrepancy in free throws in the fourth quarter of the opener.