Dallas Mavericks

Mavericks’ Cuban wants to end back-to-back games in NBA

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, left, jokes with forward Al-Farouq Aminu as they watch from the bench Wednesday night in Denver. Nowitzki sat out the game against the Nuggets after an overtime win Tuesday night at Sacramento.
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, left, jokes with forward Al-Farouq Aminu as they watch from the bench Wednesday night in Denver. Nowitzki sat out the game against the Nuggets after an overtime win Tuesday night at Sacramento. AP

Nights like Tuesday and Wednesday are why Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wishes the NBA did away with games on back-to-back nights.

The Mavs won a grueling overtime game in Sacramento on Tuesday night 108-104 then hopped on a plane and flew to Denver, where they played the Nuggets on Wednesday night. In flying from the Pacific to the Mountain Time Zone, the Mavs lost an hour and didn’t arrive at their hotel until 3:08 a.m.

With several of the Mavericks playing heavy minutes against the Kings, the Mavs decided not to play Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler and Rajon Rondo against the Nuggets. The Mavs were just resting Nowitzki and Chandler, while Rondo has a sore left Achilles.

All three players could have played Wednesday had that been a playoff game. But at this stage, the rest is more important, the Mavs concluded.

Cuban is working to get the NBA to start phasing out back-to-back games.

“There’s a lot you can do about back-to-backs,” Cuban said. “We just don’t do it.

“Now that our marketing is better and we’re selling more season tickets, we can push teams to accept a Tuesday night or a Monday night, because part of the problem is our own doing. We all want Friday and Saturday nights because it’s easier to sell tickets, and the tradeoff is if you’re not going to take this night or you block out that night, then you’re going to get more back-to-backs.”

Cuban believes his concept will work if given the chance.

“Maybe you reward teams with fewer back-to-backs if they take more Mondays and Tuesdays,” he said. “That benefits larger markets and somebody will scream about that, because it’s easier for the big teams in big markets to sell Monday and Tuesday tickets.”

Reducing the number of games from 82 to 70 or 60 to help eliminate back-to-backs, Cuban said, is not an option. He described that as “counterproductive’’ and will cut into teams’ profits.

Because many teams share the arena with an NHL team, Cuban offered a piece of advice.

“Where the arena splits with hockey and stuff, just say shove it, NHL,” Cuban said. “On some, it’s the other way around where hockey dominates.”

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