Monta Ellis hurt; Mark Cuban irked

ByTim MacMahon ESPN logo
Saturday, March 28, 2015
ESPN

SAN ANTONIO -- After an inadvertent knee injured Mavericks shooting guard Monta Ellis in a 94-76 lossto the San Antonio Spurson Friday night, a frustrated Mark Cuban publicly complained about the lack of respect that Dallas' leading scorer receives from referees.

Cuban first raised the issue in a tweet after the game.

Coach Rick Carlisle said Saturday morning that Ellis, who has played in 237 consecutive games, is "very doubtful" for Sunday's road game against the Indiana Pacers due to the right calf injury suffered when he was defending Spurs sixth man Manu Ginobili.

"He's on crutches, which is never good," Carlisle told reporters in San Antonio. "So he appears to be very doubtful for tomorrow. We don't think it's serious. But we are concerned."

Ellis has played in 237 consecutive games, a streak that dates to the 2012-13 season opener. He has played through several injuries during his two-year tenure in Dallas, including a strained left hip suffered two games before the All-Star break that bothered him for weeks.

"We're not going to do anything foolish in terms of rushing him back until he's absolutely ready," Carlisle said. "I trust [athletic trainer] Casey Smith and I trust Monta too to be reasonable about this. He knows how important he is to us. We can't take a foolish risk at this point."

Cuban, who has calmly mentioned in the past that Ellis doesn't get as many calls as he should, said he was set off after seeing Spurs power forward Tim Duncan smack Ellis in the face without a foul being called.

"He got hit in the face, Duncan got his body lower, hand was down like this in the replay, and then [referee] Monty McCutchen says he was straight up and down," Cuban said. "Say you missed it, cool. Say you'll look at it, cool. Say you weren't sure, cool. Say it wasn't your call, cool. But when the second defender doesn't jump, it can't be up and down. When a drive starts at the top of the key and you go straight down, it's not lower box, it can't be up and down unless you jump.

"That's crazy, and it happens three times a game for Monta, every game. It's ridiculous."

Cuban said the Mavs have sent "a long list" of non-calls they believed should have been fouls on Ellis drives to the league office this season. Cuban isn't satisfied with the "ridiculous feedback" the Mavs have received from the NBA, so he decided to take an aggressive public stance on the issue, asking for help from the fans.

"I'm not allowed to say how many and what, but we literally have a play list of all the calls of Monta getting smacked and no call," Cuban said. "It's crazy. It's crazy. It's always the same: 'Oh, it's incidental,' or 'It's not this, it's not that.' We tried. We tried to play the game.

"Maybe it will all change next year. I'm not even expecting the league to change anything. I'm hoping fans, every time that happens, fans post a video of it so everybody can see it."

According to NBA.com's player-tracking data, Ellis ranks 10th in the league with 609 drives this season. He ranks 35th in the league in free throws attempted with 277.

"It's just some of the most ridiculous feedback we get," Cuban said. "You turn it in, and it's like, 'That's incidental.' He got hit in the face. Incidental. Knocked the ball loose. Incidental. You know, it's crazy. The guy [is] one of the leading guys in driving, attacking the basket, went to the line zero times tonight."

Cuban has been fined well more than $1 million during his 15-year tenure as the Mavs' owner, much of it for publicly complaining about officiating. His last fine was assessed in January 2014, just before commissioner David Stern's retirement, when Cuban was fined $100,000 for confronting officials on the court and directing inappropriate language toward them at the conclusion of a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Cuban's comments Friday could result in his first fine from Stern's replacement, Adam Silver.

"I don't care one way or the other," Cuban said, joking that he'd have Mavs radio play-by-play man Chuck Cooperstein pay the fine.

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