New, quieter Mark Cuban still doesn’t like referees

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Mark Cuban still is not talking to the media during these playoffs — unless you want to hear how ABC picked up Shark Tank for 13 more episodes — but that doesn’t mean he isn’t talking.

And it doesn’t mean he is happy with the officiating.

Did you really expect him to be? Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas overheard part of a “conversation” Cuban was having as his team came off the court at halftime Thursday night.

While walking off the court, Cuban loudly asked officiating supervisor Bernie Fryer what he thought of the performance of referees Greg Willard, Bill Spooner and Tom Washington… Fryer told Cuban that he thought Thursday night’s crew had been “great” in the first half.

“Are you kidding me?” Cuban replied. “You’re not watching the same game I am.”

Cuban complained about moving screens and defensive three-second violations by the Thunder that he felt should have been called, among other things.

“Horrible,” Cuban said.

For the record, the officials are not why Dallas lost to the Thunder. It was that they could not adjust to a more physical, fronting defense on Dirk Nowitzki and they didn’t have an answer for Eric Maynor. And that should concern Mavs fans a lot more than the refs.

A couple of Lonzo Ball’s triple-double assists look dubious (video)

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Lonzo Ball draws outsized attention because his father, LaVar Ball, lures onlookers and because the rookie plays for the high-profile Los Angeles Lakers.

So, when Lonzo gets a triple-double – like his 11-points, 16-rebound, 11-assists game against the Nuggets yesterday – it draws scrutiny.

Mo Dakhil of The Jump Ball:

The NBA defines an assist as a “pass that directly leads to a basket. … An assist can be awarded for a basket scored after the ball has been dribbled if the player’s pass led to the field goal being made.”

I wouldn’t describe either of those passing as leading directly to a basket. Ball’s teammates each hold the ball for a moment after receiving the pass then take two dribbles against set defenses.

But assists are subjective, and the Lakers aren’t alone in offering a home-court scorekeeping advantage.

Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice

So, criticize/laugh at the Lakers. But your favorite team probably manipulates assists in its favor, too.

Robin Lopez and T.J. Warren exchange contact, heated words (video)

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Robin Lopez whacked T.J. Warren in the head while chasing an offensive rebound. Warren didn’t like that, so he ran to the opposite end of the court and shoved Lopez to the floor. A heated confrontation ensued, though it didn’t escalate beyond yelling.

Warren received a flagrant foul, and Lopez was hit with a technical in the Suns’ 113-105 win over the Bulls.

Lakers blow 5-on-1 fastbreak (video)

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Corey Brewer is better at finishing fastbreaks than leading them.

Nice defense by Emmanuel Mudiay, too.

But at least the Lakers won.

Did Reggie Jackson distract Jimmy Butler into missing game-tying free throw? (video)

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With the Timberwolves trailing the Pistons by three and 6.2 seconds left, Jimmy Butler drew a foul on a 3-pointer.

Butler made the first two free throws then, just before he got the ball for the third, Reggie Jackson interrupted to talk to Stanley Johnson, who was in rebounding position. Butler missed the free throw, and Detroit won 100-97 after an intentional foul.

Butler said Jackson didn’t affect him, but Butler’s side eye during the delay at least appeared to speak loudly.