Dallas Mavericks

Mark Cuban defended his case about Russell Westbrook

OKLAHOMA CITY—Way before Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant called Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban "an idiot’’ because he didn’t consider Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook a superstar, Cuban was defending his case.

As the media was trying to basically inform Cuban that Westbrook is indeed a superstar, Cuban was telling the media why he didn’t think it was a big deal that he thought Westbrook was an All-Star, but not a superstar.

"I don’t see why that’s that a big of a shock,’’ Cuban said. "The guy’s an All-Star.

"There’s not a whole lot of All-Stars. But that’s just me.’’

Cuban wanted to prove his case more vigorously, even risking -- in this instant social media Twitter world -- that Westbrook would find out what he said before the Mavs were facing a playoff elimination game against the Thunder.

"Let me add this in case (Westbrook) reads it before the game,’’ Cuban said. "Kind of the way I define a superstar is who do you want the ball in the hands of at the end of a game, or when you need a bucket?

"Who do you know that can get off that shot or make that shot, and that’s your superstar. Or make that play.’’

Westbrook sure played like a superstar on Monday. When the Mavs rallied and got within 101-98 of the Thunder with about seven minutes left in the game, the ball was in Westbrooks’ hands and he got bucket after bucket and made play after play near the end of the game to help Oklahoma City prevail, 118-104.

"Typically, you’re going to find one guy that you want the ball in the hands of at the end of a game,’’ Cuban said. "So I think that truly is the definition of who you want, and I don’t think, on the other side of the ball here, there’s only one guy who you want the ball in the hands of.’’

Westbrook nearly got a triple-double Monday as he finished with 36 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists. Durant added 33 points and seven rebounds.

No one knows for sure if Westbrook did hear of Cuban’s comments prior to the tipoff of Game 5. When a reporter tired to ask Westbrook if he knew about the comments, Durant, sitting in the interview room next to Westbrook, quickly intervened and said of Cuban:

"He’s an idiot. He's an idiot. Don’t listen to him. That's what we've got to say about that. He's an idiot. Next question."

Dwain Price: 817-390-7760, @dwainprice

Dwain Price can be heard every Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. on dfwiradio.com