Mark Cuban, Rick Carlisle fined
The NBA doled out two fines Friday morning on the Dallas Mavericks, hitting owner Mark Cuban for $75,000 for his criticism of the officials after Wednesday's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and coach Rick Carlisle for $35,000 for kicking the ball into the stands in the same game.
Carlisle, who was not suspended, was hit with two technicals within the first three minutes of the fourth quarter. The second came after he kicked the ball as it rolled toward the Mavs' bench. The ball landed a few rows back in the floor seating area, hitting a young boy in the head.
He apologized publicly after the game.
"I think it's fair," Carlisle said of the fine Friday. "If you're responsible for a ball going into the stands, you're subject to a fine. I accept it and regret that situation happening, even though it was accidental and have got to move forward."
Cuban told ESPNDallas.com via email that he'd match the fine with a charitable contribution to an organization that he'll make public via Twitter.
After the Mavs' 95-86 loss, Cuban voiced his displeasure with the officiating, not just in that game but throughout the first month of the NBA's truncated regular season.
"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 after the loss. "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."
The crew of Ron Garretson, Michael Smith and Mark Ayotte called Carlisle for his first technical 27 seconds into the fourth quarter. He stepped into the path of an official to protest a no-call when Mavericks guard Delonte West crashed to the floor after Thunder forward Serge Ibaka registered one of his career-high 10 blocked shots on a driving layup.
Carlisle's second technical was called after he kicked the ball while he was angry about another no-call. With a little less than 10 minutes remaining, Oklahoma City's Nick Collison stole the ball from Mavs guard Jason Terry in transition, leading to a breakaway dunk for Thunder guard Russell Westbrook.
After Carlisle was ejected, he approached the floor seats and apologized to the young fan, then left the court to a standing ovation. He then opened his postgame news conference by apologizing for kicking the ball.
"I want to apologize to our franchise, Mark, our fans," said Carlisle, the current president of the NBA coaches' association. "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 kicker. But that can't happen; the officials made the right call on that one. That's a regrettable situation."
Cuban has been fined more than $1 million for criticism of officials, but has more often praised the direction of NBA officiating since the league hired Army Maj. Gen. Ronald L. Johnson as senior vice president of referee operations, a newly created position to help strengthen the league's officiating programs following the Tim Donaghy scandal.
After the game, Cuban said the team frequently turns in multiple officiating calls for review, but he said he has not been satisfied with the league's response. He said he understands that referees are under heavy travel stress because of the 66-game season -- teams play three and sometimes four games per week -- but said the league must act to improve the overall quality of officiating.
"If no one ever says anything, nothing ever happens," Cuban said. "We turn in stuff not after every game, but we turn in stuff all the time and we get 'inconclusive; inconclusive; yeah, we missed this; yeah, we got it right.' That's all fine and good, but there's nobody reporting to us on accountability. And that needs to change.
"There's a lot of guys and teams that aren't having great starts to the season and there's a lot of crews that aren't having great starts to the season. The league needs to make some adjustments because you can't have it like this all the time."
With this particular game, Cuban's issues weren't primarily with the calls that went the Thunder's way. He was upset that the Mavericks, who shot 35.7 percent from the floor, weren't awarded more trips to the free-throw line despite being aggressive, especially late in the game. Cuban is also concerned about officiating inconsistency throughout the season.
"I mean, it's just ridiculous," Cuban said. "Something needs to be done; someone needs to stand up and say something. So here I is."
Jeff Caplan covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com. Information from Tim MacMahon was used in this report.