Poor officiating not to blame for loss

Mark Cuban is among the best owners in pro sports because he's an innovative thinker who will spend lavishly to win.

The only thing Cuban does that I don't like is whine about officials.

It's unnecessary, and it solves nothing. All it does is make him look petulant.

Impress me -- whine after a win, not a tough loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Dallas Mavericks' little brother.

Now, he doesn't complain about officiating nearly as much as he used to, which is a positive.

Maybe he's matured. Perhaps he's just heeding Dirk Nowitzki's request a while back to shut up.

Well, all I can say is it'll be interesting to see how much NBA czar David Stern fines Cuban for his incendiary comments after Oklahoma City beat the Mavs 95-86 on Wednesday night.

The Mavs didn't lose because of poor officiating.

They lost because Dirk made only two of 15 shots. And because Russell Westbrook humbled Roddy Beaubois in the point guard battle, outscoring him 33-9.

And because Serge Ibaka blocked 10 shots.

There's more.

The Mavs lost because they made just 30 of 84 field goal attempts for the game, including just eight baskets in the second half. Only three players scored in double figures.

And don't forget Lamar Odom (stomach ailment) and Brendan Haywood (back) didn't play.

Bottom line: The Mavs lost because they stunk on offense.


It ain't that complicated.

Occasionally, the offense is going to stagnate since future Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd is on the bench and his apprentice, Beaubois, is running the show.

Rick Carlisle mentioned the free throw disparity, and I'm sure that's part of what set Cuban off. After all, no owner likes to see his team outshot at the free throw line.

Guess what? Oklahoma shot 33 free throws, while the Mavs went to the free throw line 25 times.

See, it wasn't that big a deal.

Besides, we all know officials reward teams that attack the bucket, and the Mavericks have been a perimeter, jump-shooting team for more than a decade.

The Mavs rarely shoot as many free throws as their opponents. In the past 10 games, the Mavs have shot more free throws than their opponents twice.

"It's interesting, they had, what, 14-2 free throws in the first quarter [actually 12-2], and we had at least 50 percent more points in the paint," Cuban said. "I mean, we're doing a good job of driving and posting up, and it's crazy.

"Then they'll call three seconds on Yi [Jianlian] because it's Yi, and that's it. I mean, it's just ridiculous. Something needs to be done; someone needs to stand up and say something. So here I is."

Two fourth-quarter calls that didn't go the Mavs' way -- and they shouldn't have -- stand out more than the rest.

With 3:23 left and the Mavs trailing 83-79, Dirk drove to the basket -- gasp -- and leaned into Ibaka, hoping to draw a foul. Ibaka kept his arms straight up in the air while absorbing the contact.

Dirk lost control of the ball, and the Thunder scooped it up and headed down the court without a foul being called.

Two minutes later, with the Mavs trailing 89-85, Jason Terry sliced into the lane, put his shoulder into Ibaka and tried to draw a foul. Terry lost control of the ball, and it went out of bounds for another turnover.

"Go back to the beginning of the first quarter where Vince [Carter] got a foul on him where [Kevin] Durant ran into him," Cuban said. "The official said, 'It's a foul. You can do that.' Then Jet does the same thing [late in the fourth quarter] -- close game, we just came back -- creates the same contact, gets hit on the hip, nothing.

"It's not like we're settling for jump shots. We're driving to the basket. Roddy drives, gets smacked on the head, nothing. I mean, you've just got to wonder, right?"


Part of what makes Cuban likable as an owner is that he really is a MFFL -- Mavs Fan For Life.

The Mavs aren't a business to him. They're an important part of his life.

And like all fans, he can be irrational, which is fine. It's his right as a fan.

But whining about the officiating in a game in which Carlisle admits the Mavs struggled?

Once the Mavs get healthy and Dirk finds his jumper, though, Cuban won't feel compelled to whine about the officiating because the Mavs will be winning most nights.

Jean-Jacques Taylor is a columnist for ESPNDallas.com.