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Monday, May 5, 2003
Mavs' owner unhappy with playoff schedule

By Marc Stein
ESPN.com

DALLAS -- Sunday's postgame celebration at American Airlines Center was tempered, if only slightly, when the Mavericks saw the schedule for their second-round series against the Sacramento Kings.

I understand that we have to take our (TV) consumers into consideration, but I wouldn't have voted for (the change from) best-of-five going to best-of-seven in the first round if I would have known the result would be a back-to-back
Mavs owner Mark Cuban

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was incensed to learn that Games 3 and 4 in Sacramento will be on back-to-back nights, a rarity in the playoffs. After opening the series at home Tuesday and Thursday, the Mavericks visit the Kings on Saturday and Sunday.

"How stupid is that?" Cuban said after the Mavericks held on for a 107-95 triumph in Game 7 over the Portland Trail Blazers.

"I understand that we have to take our (TV) consumers into consideration, but I wouldn't have voted for (the change from) best-of-five going to best-of-seven in the first round if I would have known the result would be a back-to-back," Cuban said.

"There's a greater chance for injury. What if someone gets hurt in one of those games? ... The fans lose huge. They don't get the best quality play on the second night."

Cuban suggested that a coin flip to determine which second-round series would include a back-to-back would have been more fair. The loquacious owner, who hasn't been fined all season after accruing more than $1 million in fines in his first two-plus years with the Mavericks, was even more adamant that Dallas and Portland should have received advanced warning about the schedule in the next round.

"They just throw it on you," Cuban said. "They don't say: 'Hey guys, you have to understand this is the way it goes. The team that closes out last gets the back-to-back. That's the punishment for closing out last.' Then, OK, you hate it, and it's wrong, but at least you understand what the rules are."

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here. Also, send Stein a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.