Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Mavericks' Cuban: 'I hate the Spurs'
By Jeff Caplan ESPNDallas.com
DALLAS -- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Tuesday that his team's rivalry with the San Antonio Spurs is as acrimonious as ever.
"No, I mean I hate the Spurs. I have a hard time being civil to [Spurs owner] Peter Holt at the board of governors meetings and he has a hard time being civil to me even though we both like each other. It's what it represents," Cuban said one day prior to Game 2 of the heated first-round NBA playoff series between the Texas rivals. "We can both be 0-80 and if those last two games are Spurs-Mavs, it's going to be like a playoff game because we dislike each other that much."
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The teams are locked in their third playoff series of the past five seasons and the fifth overall in the Tim Duncan-Dirk Nowitzki era.
The Spurs held the upper hand in the first two series in 2001 and 2003, but the Mavs won the past two, taking the 2006 second-round series en route to the franchise's only NBA Finals appearance. Dallas also won last season's first-round series, 4-1.
The Spurs, of course, can always taunt Cuban with their four NBA championships.
Cuban, who watched the Mavs practice Tuesday at American Airlines Center, went on to say that although hate persists between the two franchises, there is also healthy respect.
"Both teams play basketball the right way, both really have a lot of respect for the other side," Cuban said. "The beauty of the first game and every game we play them is every possession counts. There's not like, 'OK, we'll put in the second unit.'
"Well, I take that back -- unless Pop says he's going for the best record and then rests everybody. But beyond that, every possession just feels like it's a punch in a heavyweight title fight. This doesn't feel like the first round of the playoffs, I guess is what I'm saying."
Jeff Caplan covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.