Bar worker: Woman jumped after photo with ‘gropey’ Mark Cuban

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In 2011, a woman accused Mavericks owner Mark Cuban of putting his hand down the back of her pants and penetrating her vagina as they posed for pictures. Cuban denies the allegation. Police investigated and didn’t charge him. Employees at the bar where the incident occurred interviewed by police all said they didn’t see anything.

It seemed reasonable to ask: If Cuban suddenly penetrated the woman without her consent in a crowded bar where so much attention was on the celebrity, wouldn’t she have reacted in a way someone noticed?

Christopher White, who was working security at the bar that night, says he noticed.

Shane Dixon Kavanaugh of The Oregonian:

White said he was standing about 20 feet away from the woman and Cuban.

“She definitely jumped after he had put his arm around her,” White said.

The woman looked upset and began to raise her voice and point angrily at Cuban, White said. Security guards moved quickly to separate the woman and other club patrons from the celebrity, he said.

“She jumped away like she was not happy with him,” White, 33, said in an interview Wednesday with The Oregonian/OregonLive. “That’s when the energy in the room kind of exploded.”

“I didn’t have a camera on his hand,” said White, who held various positions at the Northwest Third Avenue club between 2010 and 2014. “But it sure looked like it was too low to be just on her back.”

Cuban would point his finger at women with whom he wanted to be photographed and beckoned them, White said. The way Cuban touched some of the women struck White as inappropriate because his hands moved well below the middle of their backs, he said.

“He was, like, really kind of gropey toward them,” White said. “It just wasn’t how you’d normally pose in a picture with someone.”

White noticed immediately the blustery billionaire seemed very drunk when he arrived. Cuban was sweating and his hair looked messy, the former employee said. He slurred his words and gestured wildly as he interacted with people.

“He was slinking around all over the place,” White said. “I believe we told him we couldn’t serve him any alcohol.”

Cuban was eventually asked to leave the bar, White said, which he said the NBA owner did not respond well to. White said Cuban swore at those around him before storming off.

“This former employee of the bar who is coming forward today, seven years later, says he was watching Mr. Cuban at the critical moment when the photographs were being taken and Mr. Cuban did not put his hand in the complainant’s pants,” said Jacob Houze, an attorney for Cuban, in a statement.

“This former employee’s claims about Mr. Cuban’s interactions with other patrons and employees are directly refuted by all the witnesses who were interviewed by the police. Once again, this did not happen.”

White said he was never interviewed by police, but later told a friend what he’d witnessed. The friend confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that White had told him the same account.

White previously telling a friend about the incident would somewhat invalidate that he’s just coming forward now, as Cuban’s attorney portrays it. And just because some people didn’t see something doesn’t mean someone else didn’t see it or that it didn’t happen.

Still, tricky questions remain: What actually happened? What can be proven? What was criminal?

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
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It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
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Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
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With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.

Watch Lakers fan drain half-court shot to win $75,000

Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers
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It might have been the loudest the crypto.com Arena was all night.

Between the third and fourth quarters, Lakers fan Jamie Murry of Downey won $75,000 draining a half-court shot — and he got to celebrate with Anthony Davis.

Murry’s celebration is the best part — with Anthony Davis coming out to celebrate with him (and seeming a little shocked by the hug).

One other big shot fell at this game, but Lakers’ fans didn’t like it as much — Pacers’ rookie Andrew Nembhard drained a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.