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Reports: Nowitzki says Cuban should back off refs

6/30/2006 - Dallas Mavericks

Dirk Nowitzki has all but acknowledged that Mark Cuban's antics are a distraction to the Dallas Mavericks, saying that the team's owner must "learn to control himself as well as the players do."

In a stories posted Friday night on the Web sites of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and The Dallas Morning News, Nowitzki was quoted as saying, "We can't lose our temper all the time on the court or off the court, and I think he's got to learn that, too. He's got to improve in that area and not yell at the officials the whole game."

The newspapers also reported that Nowitzki, Michael Finley and Steve Nash had asked Cuban in the past about watching games from a suite, rather than from his usual seat near the Mavericks' bench.

"The game starts and he's already yelling at [the officials]," Nowitzki was quoted as saying. "He needs to learn how to control himself a little better. If somebody's in your ear constantly. ... I'd be [ticked] off if I were an official."

Cuban was fined $250,000 for his outbursts about the officiating during Game 5 of the NBA Finals, and commissioner David Stern said he was tired of off-court antics drawing attention from the series.

Cuban has been fined at least $1.65 million since buying the team in January 2000. The exact total of his punishment tab isn't known because the league doesn't always publicize action against team owners. Cuban has said he matches every dollar he is fined with a charitable donation.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.