Mark Cuban takes jabs at refs

Updated: January 23, 2011, 12:50 AM ET
By Jeff Caplan | ESPNDallas.com

NEWARK, N.J. -- Following the Dallas Mavericks' 87-86 win over the New Jersey Nets, owner Mark Cuban held court on a variety of issues and couldn't help himself from taking jabs at the officiating.

"There were some bizarre-o calls out there," Cuban said. "That was a bizarre-o game. I mean are you kidding me?"

Cuban's primary beef was a rebound and putback by Nets forward and former Maverick Kris Humphries with about six minutes to go in the third quarter. Humphries went up to grab a missed Devin Harris shot and tipped it in to pull the Nets within 58-55.

Cuban said the 6-foot-9 forward didn't rise up for the rebound on his hops alone. Cuban said Humphries grabbed onto the support structure behind the backboard to pull himself up.

"I mean, a guy goes behind the backboard, did you see that with Hump?" Cuban said. "Pulled himself up and tipped the ball in. There was a tip, and the support behind the backboard, he uses it, pulls himself up, tips the ball in. That was crazy."

Cuban didn't stop there. In the second quarter, DeShawn Stevenson was dribbling upcourt, unaware the whistle had blown because coach Rick Carlisle had called a timeout. As Stevenson crossed halfcourt, Nets forward Stephen Graham reached in, making a swipe for the ball as well as body contact that knocked Stevenson to the floor. No foul was called because it was a dead ball. Some confusion followed as both teams made their way to their respective benches.

"That's another example. What the ... ?" Cuban said. "If you hit a guy and knock him on the ground, just because the one guy didn't hear the whistle doesn't mean you have carte-blanche to put him on the ground. I mean, that's craziness."

Cuban continued: "The other time the guy does a jump-stop and then takes a step. Then, on one foul, Hump again, did you see him grab the net? Grabs the net and pulls himself up. I mean, yeah, we'll see. If it wasn't so sad it would be funny."

Meanwhile, Cuban visited Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov in his suite during at halftime of Saturday night's game and told him he's a lot like himself.

"He's great for the NBA. That's what I told him," Cuban said. "He's ballsy, he's smart, he does it his way and doesn't give a [expletive] what other people think and doesn't mind [expletive] with people. That's a perfect combination. I told him we'd get along great."

Perhaps Prokhorov's invite to his suite was a goodwill gesture by the Russian billionaire to the American billionaire after Cuban made a crude, albeit playful, comment about Prokhorov's ownership style when the Nets played in Dallas last month.

Prokhorov doesn't attend many Nets home games and unlike, Cuban, keeps a low profile in the privacy of a suite.

"We didn't bring it up," Cuban said smiling. "He's a good guy, a nice guy. He's having a good time. He's excited about it. He's excited about the move to Brooklyn."

Cuban, who sits on the baseline at nearly every Mavs home game and is visible seated behind the bench or, as in Saturday's case, at times seated courtside near the bench, said Prokhorov told him that he is 5-1 when he attends Nets home games.

"That's good," Cuban said after watching his Mavs win. "I'm glad he's 5-2 now."

Jeff Caplan covers the Mavs for ESPNDallas.com.

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