Mark Cuban is no stranger to calling out NBA refs. In fact, his criticism of the stripes has cost him some $1.5 million during his tenure as the Dallas Mavericks owner. His latest critique will also likely lead to a fine, although this time it did not involve one of his games.
Cuban criticized official Ken Mauer for his work in the Brooklyn Nets-Los Angeles Clippers game that resulted in a double-overtime win for the hometown Nets.
Cuban lamented various infractions that took place in the game’s first 20 seconds–on the first possession. Nets swingman Bojan Bogdanovic caught a pass near midcourt, shuffled his feet, took a dribble, picked up the ball, looked for an outlet pass, and then took another dribble before dishing it to center Brook Lopez. The whistle was no blown on the play in question.
“That was a classic. If that was us, I probably would have protested it, even if we would have lost, because then every SportsCenter would have played it over and over and over again,” Cuban told ESPN. “That was ridiculous and hopefully they take action. … That call at the beginning of the game, right in front of him, that wasn’t an error in judgment.”
Cuban singled out Mauer, who would later eject Clippers head coach Doc Rivers for his discussion with official Lauren Holtkamp. Holtkamp, the third female referee in NBA history, has endured a rough history with the Clippers. While Cuban didn’t criticize the ejection, he mused that the early missed calls were a “symptom of a problem” within league officiating. He did not elaborate. The Mavericks owner also suggested that the league should "“suspend [Mauer], demote him, make him ref a game in the D-League."
During the game, the Nets shot 14 more free-throws than the Clippers–four of which came directly following Rivers’ ejection. The Nets went 1-of-4 on those attempts. Rivers, however, did not blame officiating for the result.
“I thought we lost respect for the game,” Rivers said. “I thought we lost our humility. I thought we were playing great. We got up. We got cool. … We went Showtime, and I think when that happens, you deserve to lose the game.”
Rivers did add, though: “I don’t think that an official that has nothing to do with the play should be giving someone a tech. That’s my thing. That’s why I got upset.”