- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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DALLAS -- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said two late blown calls by the officiating crew played a major role in his team blowing a 23-point lead in a Game 4 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Cuban pinpointed a loose ball foul against center Tyson Chandler and a charge call against Dirk Nowitzki as incorrect calls.
“If the call goes the other way and it’s an and-1 for Dirk instead of a charge, we’re having a completely different conversation right now,” Cuban said while working out before Game 5.
Cuban was referring to a play with 2:16 remaining and the Mavs leading by six points. Nowitzki drove the lane and made a layup, but the officials ruled that Portland forward Gerald Wallace drew a charge. Wallace’s feet were clearly outside the restricted area, but Cuban contends that Wallace’s feet were not set.
“Once you go up, the guy can’t step in front of you,” Cuban said. “It’s a tough call, though, so it’s not a shock that somebody missed it because it’s a very tough call.”
Cuban didn’t consider Chandler’s fifth foul, which was called with 6:40 remaining, to be a tough call. Cuban said he did not see any contact between Chandler and Portland forward Nicolas Batum.
Cuban said he has submitted both plays to the league office to be reviewed. He joked that the typical response from the NBA in such instances was, “Neh-neh-neh-neh-neh.”
Cuban, who has been fined millions of dollars during his 11-year ownership tenure, acknowledged that publicly commenting on those calls would likely cost him money. Portland coach Nate McMillan was fined $35,000 for pointing out a 19-2 free throw disparity in the fourth quarter of Game 1 and mentioning he thought the Blazers should have gotten more calls.
“Just so that it’s on the record,” Cuban said when asked if he was concerned about a fine, “so when you guys ask me the same question in the first round for the next 37 years, I have a reference point.”