In his first interview since the NBA fined him $100,000 Saturday, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he just wanted to have some fun before commissioner David Stern retired.
“I love it,” Cuban said about the fine, before Monday’s 102-97 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. “It’s a business expense and it’s part of doing business.
“These franchises are worth hundreds of millions of dollars and I literally feel that if I could impact it to have some improvement, they could be worth a lot more.”
Stern fined Cuban a whopping $100,000 for confronting the referees at the end of Wednesday’s 129-127 loss in Los Angeles to the Clippers and for directing inappropriate language to the referees.
Since Stern will retire on Feb. 1, Cuban said he wanted to get in one last fine as a lasting memory to the commissioner.
“I was just a little nostalgic for the commissioner,” Cuban said. “So I was trying to fund the donut fund.”
Asked if he thought Stern was happy to fine him one last time, Cuban said: “I think he was. They call you and make sure what you said is what you said.
“When I said yes, and then they say OK, here’s the fine. That’s the way it works.”
Adam Silver will take over for Stern on Feb. 2. Will Cuban have a present waiting for the new commissioner?
“We’ll see,” he said. “It depends on how things are handled.
“But there’s plenty to come. Now it’s time to let Adam feel my wrath.”
Monta Ellis found himself in a situation Monday against the Cavaliers similar to Wednesday against the Clippers.
With the Mavs leading the Clippers 127-123, Ellis inexplicably gave up his dribble to hoist an 18-footer with 40 seconds left in the game and 16 seconds on the 24-second shot clock. Ellis missed, J.J. Redick buried a 3-pointer and the game ended with the Mavs eventually losing 129-127.
On Monday, after Anderson Varejao’s dunk pulled the Cavs within 98-94 with 46 seconds to play, Ellis again wound up with the ball. This time he dribbled the shot clock down to its last tick before shooting with 23 seconds left in the game.
“You’ve got to look at the clock,” said Ellis, who had 22 points and eight assists. “When we’re ahead, that’s the smart thing to do.”
Dirk Nowitzki said, “We talked about wanting to obviously use the clock as much as we can.”
Devin Harris was drawing charges and being a defensive pest all day Monday. In essence, Devin Harris was being Devin Harris.
“Devin Harris made a big difference today defensively and with our penetration on offense,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s going to help us.
“The important thing is we’ve got to bring him along at the right rate. We can’t play him too much and get him kind of overcooked in this thing.”
Harris, who has played only two games since returning from left foot surgery in August, was in Monday’s contest for the final 2:21 to help contain Cavs sharpshooter Kyrie Irving. Irving, who had a game-high 26 points, was scoreless down the stretch with Harris draped on him.
“Obviously he’s got all the dribble and hesitation,” Harris said. “But I wanted to just watch him with his body, force him to take a jump shot and contest it.”