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NBA referees union says NBA is letting Mark Cuban threaten and intimidate officials

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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has never been on the friendly side with NBA officials, but now the union for the league’s referees, the NBRA, is claiming that Cuban has consistently threatened and intimidated their members.

Communications between the NBRA and NBA about officiating and Cuban’s influence were obtained by Yahoo! Sports and published on Thursday. Lee Seham, legal counsel for the NBRA, says Cuban has wielded “undue influence of the league’s management of its officials.”

Perhaps the most concerning claim by the NBRA is direct influence they say Cuban has touted over the job security for individual referees.

That passage reads as such, via Yahoo!:

In response to the league rejecting Seham’s premise that Cuban holds an “inappropriate influence” over referee employment decisions, the union’s general counsel responded: “No other owner has communicated to our members with such force that he exercises control over their careers. He has communicated that he played a pivotal role in the termination of Kevin Fehr, a referee who met league performance standards. He has communicated to an NBRA board member, during contract negotiations, that the referees would continue to be at-will employees. He has told a referee, during a game, that he follows that referee’s game reports.”

The NBA has responded by saying Seham’s claims are an attempt to reduce transparency in officiating.

Meanwhile, Cuban has fired back at the NBRA saying, “To suggest I have influence is to suggest that the NBA officials can be influenced.”

According to Yahoo! Sports, the NBRA is upset that Cuban has flaunted his wealth in the face of NBA fines levied against him for incidents involving officials, sometimes donating double his fine amount to charity. They say that in the face of his ability to do so, the league’s punishment isn’t seen as serious.

The NBRA did work with the league last season to implement a stricter reprimand schedule that was not announced to the public, and it did appear to curb team staff incidents including those from Cuban. But the union has now said Cuban’s antics are back, and they are worried about his influence.

Since there isn’t an independent, third-party body that tracks things like beratings per-game for people like Cuban, it’s an unfortunate case of two sides making claims and standing against each other.

No doubt the NBRA would like to get some leverage on their issues with Cuban by making them public through Yahoo! Sports, and perhaps a public backlash caused by news coverage could do just that.

Cuban is a strong, outspoken figure in the NBA sphere so it will be interesting to see where it goes from here. If the union was able to push through more severe punishments last season, perhaps they are looking to do more of the same in order to cull Cuban’s interactions with them.

For now, we’ll just have to wait as the two sides hash it out.

You can read Cuban’s full response to Yahoo! Sports and the original memos between the union and the league here.

Stephen Curry’s 32 lead Warriors over Rockets 113-106

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HOUSTON (AP) Stephen Curry scored 32 points, Klay Thompson had 25 and the Golden State Warriors built a big lead early and held on for a 113-106 win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.

The Warriors scored 37 points in the first quarter and never trailed on the way to their eighth straight victory and 60th this season.

Golden State led by eight after a pair of free throws by Curry with just over three minutes left. Patrick Beverley countered with a tip-in layup for Houston, then was fouled when he was knocked to the ground on a screen by Draymond Green seconds later.

James Harden missed a layup on the next possession before Green added a shot on the other end to put the Warriors up 107-99.

Another layup miss by Harden followed, and Curry made a 3-pointer with 1:46 left to send fans streaming to the exits.

Warriors F James Michael McAdoo leaves game vs. Rockets with head injury (VIDEO)

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There was a scary moment during the matchup between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. During a change of possession, Houston’s Trevor Ariza and and Golden State’s James Michael McAdoo got tangled up and fell together on the floor.

McAdoo was under Ariza and wound up getting his head slammed into the hardwood. He was immediately taken off the floor and sent to the locker room.

Via Twitter:

The NBATV broadcast said McAdoo received stitches but did not test positive for a concussion. He is averaging 8.7 minutes, 2.9 points, and 1.7 rebounds per-game for the Warriors.

Jusuf Nurkic trolls Nuggets, tells former team to enjoy their summer (VIDEO)

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Jusuf Nurkic did not enjoy his time as a member of the Denver Nuggets. His trade to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Mason Plumlee was a welcome change of scenery.

On Tuesday night, Nurkic got to take on his old team with huge playoff implications at stake. Portland beat the Nuggets, 122-113, moving a game ahead of their rivals in the race for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and giving them the best tiebreaker between the two.

Nurkic was impressive, blasting his old squad with 33 points on 12-of-15 shooting, adding 16 rebounds, three blocks, and two assists.

Nurkic was interviewed in the arena after the game, and he was obviously happy he helped his team while also sticking it to Denver. Speaking with Portland reporter Brooke Olzendam, Nurkic took one last shot at the Nuggets, telling them to enjoy their summer.

Via Twitter:

Nurkic quite possibly sent the Nuggets packing for the year with the game at the Moda Center on Tuesday, so he might have been the guy who helped start their summer.

Still, that is ice cold.

James Johnson decimates Marcus Morris with huge one-handed dunk (VIDEO)

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Miami Heat forward James Johnson is one of the NBA’s best in-game dunkers. On Tuesday night against the Detroit Pistons, he yammed down a huge one-handed slam that embarrassed Marcus Morris and drew gasps from the crowd at the Palace.

The play came midway through the fourth quarter with Johnson at the top of the key. After a quick pass over to him, Johnson gave a quick hesitation before driving to his left and past his defender.

With the quick step, Johnson’s only remaining opponent at the basket was Morris, who was unfortunate enough to find himself between the high-flying Heat and the rim.

This is what happened next:

Morris was whistled for a foul on the play.