Mark Cuban Calls out Nowitzki on Defense, Effort

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Mark Cuban, outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks, has never been shy about letting people know that he is displeased. The only owner to run his own regularly updated blog is also one of the only owners willing to speak out on behalf of his players — like he did when he felt they were robbed by the refs in 2006 — and with little regard to the financial cost of doing so. Cuban goes to bat for his players. To paraphrase FX’s The League, it’s a law of nature, like water or dinosaurs.

So when Cubes decided that he could fire some shots at Dirk Nowitzki, his franchise centerpiece, before Monday’s win against the Boston Celtics, it felt a little strange. “Dirk always goes through a little slump during the year when he needs to re-motivate,” Cuban told ESPN. “I think we’ve seen that for a couple of games, and I think he’s going to come back stronger, particularly after three days [off] and those naps he’s gotten in the last couple of games.”

It may have been a motivating tactic for the rest of the team in the doldrums of March and April, when teams start to relax a little bit in order to be ready for the playoffs. It’s important for a franchise like Dallas, which is currently a seventh seed but only sits two-and-a-half games ahead of ninth-place Phoenix, to keep its collective foot on the gas. Or, as Cuban put it: “You know when Dirk’s trying to get 10 rebounds and you know when he’s not. And we need a little bit more of those try-to-get-10 games, because I think our starters in particular respond to his energy.”

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