Full transcript of Mark Cuban’s appearance on ESPN’s ‘First Take,’ Friday June 22nd, 2012.
JC–Jay Crawford, mediator
SS–Stephen A Smith
SB: Welcome to the real shark tank.
MC: There you go (laughs)
JC: That’s well said, Skip. This is the shark tank and we want to start by finding out what is your, you may have more than one, but what’s your biggest issue with Skip?
MC: It’s not just Skip. Its sportswriters and sports media in general, where everything is generalities, right? “Excruciating pressure” — what the hell is that, right? You know, “need leader” —
SB: It was excruciating pressure…
MC: Meaning what?
SB: Meaning that you personally watched up close and personally what Lebron went through against your Dallas Mavericks, and was it not the biggest collapse of a superstar we’ve ever witnessed on a finals or championship stage?
MC: No, I mean first of all its a team game. Right? You guys like to talk in complete generalities where no one can question you, right? You don’t ever use facts, you don’t ever use substance.
SB: I don’t ever use facts? That’s all I use on this show.
MC: “Excruciating pressure”? “Undeniable” this, it’s just all generalities.
SB: There’s never been a star under more pressure going into a finals or championship series or game than Lebron James is under after nine years and three league MVPs.
MC: First of all, you have a presumption that people care what you say. They don’t. When guys—
SB: That’s fine. That’s your opinion.
MC: No, no, I’m talking about media in general. When guys get ready to play and they’re in the locker room, they’re not thinking ok well what’s written, what’s going to be written, what’s being said, I mean, they’re getting prepared. And if you’ve got a good coach and you’ve got a good culture, then guys are ready to play no matter what,like you guys were just talking about, you know, “Miami just wanted more last night,” that is just such horse-you-know-what, right. It’s not that Okalhoma City didn’t want it more, I think Miami was better prepared to play the game than Oklahoma City in terms of adjustments and changes, and now if you want to talk about double-teams and how they were used and whtether they should have played zone, um, what defensive structure was in place, that’s a valid conversation. But just saying “they wanted it more,” that’s ridiculous.
MC: When you’re Kevin Durant, or yo’ure, uh, Derek Fisher, and you’re Russell Westbrook, etc, and you’re at that close out game, there’s nobody who wants it more. It’s just a question of who executes better and then you decide why—
SB: Who played harder? in the last games. Miami did, every game.. Lebron played harder than Kevin Durant did four straight games.
MC: That is the most ridiculous thing any sportswriter has ever said. Now, if you think when Kevin Durant walked off the court he thought, yeah, I didn’t play quite hard enough, right? Now you can say he wasn’t put in a position to succeed, you can say they didn’t run the right plays, they didn’t get the ball to him on the block enough. And if you were smart you’d come out and you’d have substance. You’d say you know what, this is how many plays they ran to him on the block. Here’s how Miami defended it. Now you can also argue the Pat Riley way is always the same way, all the time. Miami played it the same way all the time, and then we can have a discussion about adjustments. like last year, did we play harder than the Heat, is that what you think it was?
SB: No, I don’t. I think Lebron disappeared, and shrank in crunch time of the fourth quarter. I can just show you the numbers of what he didn’t do in every fourth quarter.
MC: Wo we get no credit for not putting him in a position to succeed. RIght. We played the Heat—
SB: He put himself in, all he did was stand out on the perimeter.
MC: Now how do you think we defended that? WHy do you think he was standing out there?
SB: Uh, uh, you didn’t have to defend him.
MC: Oh right, so no matter what we did, he was just going to stand there and do nothing?
SB: That’s all I saw. That was a lot of it.
MC: That’s exactly right, “that’s all you saw.”
SB: Hope that Dwyane Wade saves the day for him.
MC: You’re exactly right. That’s all you saw. You didn’t look. Right? I mean, that’s a complete insult to us, to say you know what, the adjustments that we made–
JC: What did you do to force him out there?
MC: We had different, we had like six, seven different types of matchups in our zone, and we played man-to-man, and we had a variety of different switches, right? So we knew that ninety percent of the shots were going to come from the left-hand side, right. We knew that if you gave him room from the left, he was going to drive. We didn’t have the ahtletes that oklahoma city did, so we had to plan differently–
MC: So we need to make sure we pushed him out, away, and that we gave him different looks every time he had the ball, because just making, just forcing him to make a decision, to think about what he had to do, taking the time to read, are we in a zone, what type of zone we in, how are we matching up, what kind of rotations are we in, making him think forced him to pass around the perimeter, which gave us a chance to adjust. Now they’re smarter, they’re a better team this year, they deserved to win this year, but you know, that’s the way we played it. So it wasn’t just Lebron. Lebron actually played it right more often than not. He made the right pass to the right guy, who didn’t make the right play. And that’s exactly what we wanted: we wanted to get the ball out of his hands and and into the hands of somebody else. We wanted him to play Michael Jordan and make somebody play Steve Kerr. Now last night — Mike Miller…
JC: They had several Steve Kerrs.
MC: They had everybody stepping up and they deserved every bit. You know, so you talk in generalities.
SB: No I’m not.
MC: Yeah, you are.
SB: You spewed out some generality about players don’t care. Let me tell you for a fact — and you can verify this, Stephen A — Lebron James listened to what I said for about, what, eight years? Because that’s all I heard. He said I was his Howard Cosell. (Cuban smiles). And this year for the first time to his credit, he tuned out all the noise, that’s all we saw was, he’s reading The Hunger Games trilogy before the games. He’s meditating on the bench before the games. He tuned us out.
MC: This is a Skip Bayless special. Lebron lost last year because he was paying attention to Skip Bayless. Lebron won this year because he wasn’t paying–
MC: That’s what you just said. Did he not just say that? (laughs)
SB: Here’s what he didn’t do against you guys. He let you off the hook, because he didn’t do what we saw him do for four straight games. He didn’t drive through your zone, and slash it up and dish. He didn’t post up at all. This was a new deal, this was a new post-up game we saw this year from Lebron. He shredded the Oklahoma City defense because he drove and he dished.
MC: Ok. What kind of defense–
SB: He wanted to be a pretty jump shooter against you guys and it played right into your hands because he’s a below-average jump shooter from the perimeter.
MC: Ok, Skip, so when he was on the post, what were the different defensive schemes that Oklahoma City ran last night?
SB: They had, they used Sefolosha on him, they used Durant on him–
MC: When he was in the post what were the different defensive schemes they used?
SB: Ibaka was supposed to come hard
MC: Was supposed to come hard?
SB: And he did not come hard, he let Lebron get to the rim repeatedly, and Perkins was nowhere to be seen.
MC: I just asked a simple question.
SB: And I just told you.
MC: No, you said “so and so was supposed to…,” no they, they doubled from down, right, and they doubled, and they passed and they hit their shots, when they kept on doubling, they changed, right, because they passed it out and Mike Miller hit the open shot. But that’s just one example.
SB: Did he get in the lane against you guys last year? Not at all in the fourth quarter.
MC: Why do you play a zone, Skip?
SB: Well, again, I’ve seen him slash up any kind of defense, when he feels like it. He’s a freight train! You just said you don’t have the athletes that they have.
MC: Right. And that’s why we played more zone than possibly Oklahoma City did. Because we had smarter players that are not necessarily as athletic. But the thing about the Miami Heat, they play the Pat Riley way. RIght? They play the exact same way, all the time. And I thought this series was going to be about adjustments. Oklahoma City felt like they had to do it a certain way, you know, it just didn’t work, right? But it certainly wasn’t the way we played them. So if you want to sit here and discuss … let me put it another way. Every team tracks everything these days. So in game, we have five guys tracking what happens in a pick and roll situations, what happens in a post-up situation with Lebron, what happens with Lebron’s posting and we run this type of zone, that type of zone. So you know in game exactly what the percentages are going. And if you are paying attention, you know those things as well. Oklahoma City didn’t seem to make the number of adjustments they needed to make.
SB: I agree.
MC: And if you go through and look at the stats that I’m sure they have, that’s what surprised me.
SB: Well you can throw all those stats out the window because, as Doc Rivers always says, it’s a make or miss league.
SB: You won the championship last year because Dirk started making shots like he’s never made ‘em before. He played as tall as he is. Seven feet tall. And Lebron and Dwyane Wade started missing shots, or whoever else you want to throw in the equation.
MC: No, actually, actually, we put Dirk in a position to succeed because we knew what Miami was going to do. They didn’t make a lot of adjustments, they kept on playing the Pat Riley way. That increased our confidence as the game went by, as the games went by, right? So when we got to game four and everything was still the same, we knew we were going to win.
SB: Are you criticizing the Pat Riley way?
MC: Last year I was, this year it was perfect.
JC: What was different?
MC: Last year versus this year?
MC: They made their shots, and I don’t think that they were — there wasn’t as many adjustments against them.
JC: Right. That’s where I was going. Your club made the adjustments throughout the series. How surprised were you that Oklahoma City did not.
MC: You know, I don’t want to say anything about Oklahoma City because it’s not like they had all season to work on these things.
MC: RIght? We had the advantage of a full season where we played in, in, um, Chicago preseason last year, we played a whole game in nothing but zone. Nothing but zone. Because we knew we were going to have to go to the zone as our way to mix things up. And if you look at the..offensive results against our zone, you’d see, it was good. This year, because we had new guys, we didn’t have as much time to practice, Okla–Indiana, same thing, why didn’t they play zone? You don’t have time to practice zone in a lockout shortened season when you don’t practice. And I’m sure Oklahoma City faced the same thing. It’s nice to say they could put in a zone, but if you don’t have time to work on it, they can’t. And I think that gave Miami a huge advantage.
SB: So bottom line: You’re saying Lebron didn’t shrink under the pressure last year, you guys just took him out of the game.
MC: I think we did a great job of taking him out of the game. Maybe he could have done more, but I think he played a Magic Johnson game last year against us and he needed other guys to step up and they didn’t.
SS: Of all the things that have been said, I take issue with just one thing the great Mark Cuban had to say. I’ll address that in a second though. I know we’ve got to go to break.
JC: We’re gonna take a commercial break.
SB: The great Mark Cuban?
SS: I’ve always said that. I’ve always been fond of Mark Cuban.
JC: We’re gonna take a commercial break, and when we come back, Mark will stay with us at the debate desk, more ESPN ‘First Take’ from Miami, right after this.
* * *
JC: We’re back at the debate center, Jay Crawford, Skip Bayless, Stephen A. Smith, and sadly, as of this morning, no longer the NBA champion owner, Mark Cuban. Stephen A Smoith, during Skip and Mark’s debate you ended by saying you took issue with one thing that Mark said. What was that?
SS: I was incorrect. I took issue with two things.
JC: Alright (laughs). After further review…
SS: Let’s go to the first one. Uh, Mark and I go way back. We’ve had many conversations in the past. One statement that you made I want to address is that, um, you said it’s a ridiculous statement that, you know, somebody didn’t want it bad enough. Every players wants it bad enough. I will answer that question with a question from you: Did Lamar Odom want it bad as bad as Dirk Nowitzki and the rest of your teammates?
MC: Yeah, I’m not going to play around with Lamar but let’s put it this way. If a guy can’t be part of our culture, you get rid of him.
SS: No, no, no, no. I’m not asking that question…I wasn’t even asking, I respect the intricacies of that. What I am saying to you is that everybody and their grandmother could see that Lamar Odom didn’t want it.
MC: But we’re not talking about a game in the middle of the season, right?
SS: But I’m not talking about a game in the middle of the season, I’m talking about from the time that man got traded to Dallas he was miserable because he wanted to be in LA. What I’m saying is you can tell the difference. In other words–
MC: I get your point. I get your point.
SS: That’s all I’m saying.
MC: But you’re in a close-out situation of the finals, right?
MC: And by the time you get to that point..the guys you put in, it’s not like they were running the same rotation, both teams shortened their rotation. So the guys who are in the game, are the guys who are committed to play. Now if there’s a guy that you don’t think is in to it, or you don’t think deserves to play, you’re not going to play him.
SS: But there are times, and I agree with your assessment, what I’m saying is within the context of highly competitive competition, in terms of effort I totally agree with you. But what I’m saying is when you look at Lebron and you take into account all the suffering he has endured over the last several years, because of the expectations that weren’t lived up to, because of the way he’d been maligned and ridiculed or what have you, if you’re Kevin Durant, sure you’re going out there and you’re giving the same level of effort, but because you’re seen and perceived as a relatively quiet, humble dude that everybody–
MC: It’s a team game, so that comes down to are you putting your players offensively and defensively in a position to succeed. It’s not a question of effort.
SS: My only…the only thing I’m addressing is that when somebody makes a statement about somebody wanting it more, it doesn’t speak to effort per se sometimes, sometimes it speaks to a level of desperation one has, as opposed to one lacks.
MC: Again, it’s a team game. The worst thing … perfect, perfect analogy. Because on one hand, wanting it bad enough, make it happen, making the shots, being the shot maker. You know what they call that? They call that hero ball. And you know what the number one killer of a team that’s trying to come back–hero ball.
SB: Russell Westbrook.
SS: I’m just saying it happens, that’s all I’m saying.
MC: Again, it comes down…Look, I think the most underrated element in the NBA is coaching. Coaching matters.
SS: I agree with that.
MC: The hardest position to hire in all of sports is the head coach. It’s harder to find the right coach than it is to find the right players. And so, to say somebody just wants it more, was out there, you know, who wants it more than Perkins? Just look at his face!
SS: I guess what I’m trying to say is you’re taking it as somebody being maligned. What I’m saying is that sometimes it speaks to the level of desperation one may have. That’s all I’m saying. But that’s neither here nor there.
MC: But I think desperation’s not the way to play the game.
SS: Right or wrong, I’m saying it happens, and as a reporter you’re not beyond the pale to point that out. That’s all I’m saying. But the other point I want to get to is this. You sat there and said media members, we don’t know anything. Let’s address this.
MC: No, I said when you’re talking in generalities, when you’re talking in generalities, right. When you talk in general, when you talk in specifics and you’ve done your homework, everybody’s going to respect what you said. If you take the time to call the guys and find out their position, and you’re reporting what they tell you, guys are going to respect what you said. When you start talking about “excruciating pressure” — what the hell is that!
SB: He just explained what it was.
SS: I get you, but that’s for you and Skip to discuss, because I understand that. But you did say, you know, reporters don’t use facts. I’m wondering, first of all, when are teams going to stand up? And I am certainly not talking about you, because you are one of the more honest people i’ve ever encountered covering the NBA. But when are teams gonna stand up — I mean you have PR departments, you have media relations departments, you have people that are there lying to reporters everyday. Misleading them, spinning it and sending it in a different direction.
MC: Absolutely. (laughs)
SS: So what I’m saying to you is — that’s right — so what I’m saying to you is, if we talk to a player, and he wants to talk off the record, but doesn’t have the courage to talk on the record. If you want to talk to a coach who’s giving you this tidbit of information, but you can’t! Please don’t use this! I’m saying it happens. What I’m saying is, there are too many reporters that are proven, that have proven their level of credibility, simply because of the information, not only the information that they’ve acquired, but also you know they’re talking to folks, and sometimes they’re protecting them.
MC: Two different things. One is just reporting what guys will say. And if you get access, you get a report, more power to you, that’s great, that’s doing your job. And then there’s effort. There’s effort around all the other elements of the game. There’s going in…this Disney, this is ESPN, you have more resources than any team ever had. Look, every team, or most teams, you can go in there, and we’ve got ten guys breaking down tape, breaking down elements so we know exactly what’s going on, internationally.
SS: What you just broke down, listen, we’ve had analysts all over ESPN, nobody has said what you just broke down about what you did to the Miami Heat last year in the NBA finals.
MC: But all you had to do was look at the tape. That’s the point! The tape is obvious.
SS: Time out, wait a minute, Mark. Well listen, did you know it before you became an owner and you were inside those locker rooms? You had access!
MC: What I am saying is you don’t need access to go down and sit down and break down a tape, so everybody’s talking about officiating, right? Right? And I’m not going to say one way or the other, but all you have to do is watch the tape and score it.
SS: Wait a minute. You have analysts all over various networks throughout this country that have watched it and break stuff down and they still don’t know what you know because you own the team and the coach is literally showing you what he’s doing. They might not show it to somebody else. So even though you might break down the tape and see certain things, some of the nuances.
MC: I don’t agree with that statement.
SS: Come on, come on!
MC: I can watch other teams play.
SS: I’m telling you what coaches been telling me, because I don’t know. I’m telling you what coached told me, so if I’m wrong, I’m wrong because they gave it to me.
MC: I can watch other teams’s games, right, and breakdown what they’re playing, how they’re playing it, I can look at officiating and know if it has an impact or not. And all I have to do is take notes. All you have to do is watch the tape and take notes.
SS: You still haven’t answered my same question: Did you know that before you owned the team and had direct access to that kind of stuff?
MC: My point is it has nothing to do with access and everything to do with effort. If it was important to me, and if it was part of my job, to understand the nuances of the NBA game, before I bought the team, I would have done it.
SS: I’m sorry, I got news for you — primarily, our primary responsibility is results. I will explain it to some degree, but I could really give two cents about why you went 15 and 67. If you’re 15-67, you stink. Your record stinks!
MC: So I stand by my point. My 2.5 year old will sit there and break down tape and he knows more than any of you guys about the NBA.
SS: You might say that…
MC: Thank you (laughs)
SS: … but what I’m saying to you is this, if we’re on the air and we’ve got forty-five seconds to two minutes to talk about a subject, what do you want us to do?
MC: Ok, you’re making my point, Stephen A.
SS: No, I’m not.
MC: You’re making my exact point.
SS: I don’t think so.
MC: If you’re saying you just don’t have the time to do it, just say you don’t have the time to do it.
SS: No. What I’m saying is as you break it down and explain it, it comes down to bottom-line results. I’ve seen many analysts broke it down before, but at the end of the day we’re never going to understand what you understand, because you have that level of access.
MC: Ok, so I don’t disagree that access can add color to what you see …
SS: Content. Substance.
MC: Well, context, right? To what you see on the tape. No question about that. But my point is if you don’t watch the tape, you don’t know all the questions to ask. And if you surprise a coach, by saying why did you do this, why’d you do that, what was the circumstance that led you to make this choice, then I think you’d get better responses.
SB: Are we out of time? Can Mark stay?
JC: Well, Michelle, you want us to break here? should… (voices from off screen) (to Cuban) Can you stay with us? Great, wonderful, we’re taking a timeout, back with Mark Cuban, from Miami, Florida, when ESPN First Take continues. Stay with us.
* * *
JC: We are back, ESPN First Take continuing, on the morning after Lebron James is crowned king of the NBA, which means that the Dallas Mavericks are no longer king, at least not yet, you have to go back and garner another one. Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is with us. Our first segment was sort of a back and forth with Skip. Last segment Stephen A wade in and you guys went back and forth. Skip was sitting over there, saying I want in, I want in. Go.
SB: Thank you. I want to go back at Mark, and I want to talk about Mark Cuban, celebrity owner. I want to talk about what Mark Cuban now has in common with Lebron James, because I commended you for this, many times during last year’s NBA finals. I thought you had a Lebron-like epiphany last year. I thought you grew up last year. I thought for the first time ever, you actually stayed out of the way, and it seemed calculated to me, because you avoided the spotlight that you clearly love. Shark Tank, and all the other things you do. You do love the limelight, right? Is that fair to say?
MC: I like to do what I like to do.
SB: Ok. But you didn’t attack the referees publicly, and potentially turn them against your Dallas Mavericks. You didn’t insult the rival Heat fans and maybe get them to scream a little bit louder at the Heat home games. I liked that Mark Cuban, and I thought that helped that you stayed out of the way of your coach and your players and you let them do what they did best. You were in the shadows a year ago.
MC: I wasn’t. Just because I didn’t talk to you guys didn’t mean I did anything differently. I got to tell you, there was only one reason I didn’t and that’s because I was superstitious. RIght? You know? The minute I didn’t talk to the media one game, we won. And so there was no good reason…
SB: So it was all superstition?
MC: A hundred percent.
SB: It worked. I thought it really…
SS: One question — at no time did your employees approach you and say, you might want to be quiet?
MC: Never. Never. They know me better.
MC: In terms of my role, when things are going wrong somebody’s got to be out there taking the bullets. When things are going right, you step back, right? To me it was important to let Donald Carter lift the trophy because he was in ill health.
SB: I liked that.
MC: It wasn’t me talking when Stuart Scott had the mic; I handed it right to coach Carlisle.
SB: You avoided the spotlight.
MC: I didn’t avoid anything, right? To me I was just doing what I thought was right. And that’s the way I was trying to do it. It’s not that I love the spotlight. You guys know, I turn down a whole lot more interviews than I say yes to.
SS: Yes you do.
MC: I rarely say yes.
SS: Yes you do.
MC: But there’s things that I like to do, Shark Tank, ABC, Friday nights. Um (laughs).
JC: We like that. Nice plug.
MC: So it’s not about limelight, it’s about doing the right thing.
SB: Is that not out of character for Mark Cuban last year?
MC: No, no, trust me, it’s not out of character.
JC: Ok, if you’re superstitious and it worked will we see more of that forward?
MC: Depends what works. If I talk and we win, I’ll talk more.
JC: In other words you’re wearing the same shirt that worked in game four…
MC: You have no idea! (everyone laughs)
JC: Alright, fair enough.
SB: You know what I like about Mark? If it’s daylight outside, and I say look Mark, it’s daylight, he’ll say no, it’s not.
MC: No, that’s you Skip.
SB: No. No.
MC: That’s you. You’re the contrarian, right?
SB: Nope, I’m right.
SS: I’m sorry Skip, we agree there. We agree there.
MC: That’s your sphiel, right. If you say A, I’m gonna say B. If you say…
SB: I say exactly what I believe, is that not correct?
JC: I will say, that although, because I thought the exact same thing, the first year or two I worked with Skip I thought ok I get this guy, he just wants to be different, he just wants to be the contrarian. But I can honestly say in spending most of my time over the last seven or eight years with this man, he believes everything…
SS: But I don’t…wait a minute, woah, woah…nobody’s implying you don’t mean what you say.
MC: No, he believes it.
SS: What I am saying is you will find what you feel differently about somebody.
MC: But, but yeah…
JC: I don’t know if I agree with that.
MC: He’s making my point for me. “He says what he believes.” Which is a whole lot different than knowing the facts. I rest my case.
SB: Ok, was I ever inaccurate in my constructive criticism of Lebron James over the last seven years on this show?
MC: I don’t know.
SB: Ok. He agrees, you say I was accurate with it. You thought I over stated it.
SS: I thought you embellished it. I thought sometimes you were excessive, and I still think as we sit here today you don’t know how to let certain things go. But, you were not inaccurate.
SB: Am I stubborn? Yeah. Am I proud? Yeah. Are you? (points to Cuban) Yeah you are.
MC: Of course. But I think the difference between us is it doesn’t matter what I believe. In my own mind. I don’t care what I believe, right? If it’s something I believe, then I still want to know what the facts are.
JC: But you’re an analytical guy.
MC: That’s just the way I look at it. I’m not saying it’s good TV.
JC: Skip is analytical…Skip looks at numbers, but I think oftentimes, and this is the beauty of Skip Bayless, the numbers may tell us something. What he loves to do is tell us, fill in the blacks, what the numbers don’t tell us.
MC: Let me give you a perfect example, right. (picks up a traditional NBA box score from in front of Skip). This is a traditional basketball box score, right?
JC: That’s what it looks like.
MC: You know, it’s the most worthless piece of information in all the NBA.
JC: You find no value in those numbers whatsoever?
MC: None. There’s the obvious points scored…
JC: triple-double means nothing?
MC: It depends on the rest of the game.
SS: How often do you read those?
MC: Who’s the guy who threw the ball off the backboard?…
(lot of talking back and forth over each other)
SB: I agree with that point. I often say numbers lie. He throws at me he averaged 30 and 10 or whatever, all these Lebron numbers are. Yeah, but what happened in the fourth quarter? It doesn’t show in here, unless you look at the fourth quarter box. You happened to open the third quarter box.
SS: Mr. Cuban, see, now he’s telling half-truths. Because what I’m pointing out, because what I’m pointing out again, unlike you, it’s not just about what I believe, you know what I’m saying? I care about what the truth is. My point is, when I’m looking at numbers, why am I looking at numbers? It’s because he looks at numbers to make his point. So I counter. But that’s all it is. Of course there’s more to it. If there wasn’t more to it, then I wouldn’t need to go to the games. I could just sit at home and watch it and get a copy of the boxscore on line.
MC: But here’s why I find I have a problem. Right? Because the numbers are the numbers, these numbers really don’t tell much, the traditional boxscore. Because it leaves out one hundred percent of the context. Right? If a guy has fifty points, you know, and a guy takes thirty shots and maybe even has a triple-double, it’s the old line, give me the ball, I’m open. But you got to know, there’s a reason why you’re open, right? Because you can’t shoot.
SB: Ok, I circled one number in this entire box. One number I circled. This is the third quarter. When Oklahoma City collapsed and allowed, what was it, a 19 to 1 run.
SB: The point guard took nine shots in that quarter, so that’d be 36 for a game. He made two of them. He shot 4-20 for the game. That’s a pretty significant number.
JC: That tells a story. It doesn’t tell the whole story.
MC: What story does it tell? (turns to Skip)
B: It says, he shoots too much. It says they’re in need of a pure point guard. A floor leader. Somebody to settle them down and get them better shots. That he’s more, if you look at it over time, he’s far more cold than he’s hot, because he scored 43 on 36 shots in the previous game, as you know, and everybody’s like, oh wow, Russell Westbrook, it’s Westbrook or bust.
JC: Mark, as you said earlier, maybe it tells you that he’s trying to play “hero ball”? They didn’t need a hero, they needed somebody to stop the bleeding.
MC: What I’m telling you it’s telling you nothing, right? Because you don’t know what offense is being run, it doesn’t really tell you who was on the court, or who was on the court against him, for much, I guess for this game you would because everybody played everything, right. You know, were they sagging back and daring him to shoot, right? Look, you talk about what the boxscores will or won’t tell you. If he’s shooting too much, and you said over the course of the series he hadn’t shot very well, and in other series he hadn’t shot very well, then you’re saying Oklahoma City did the exact right thing because Mike Miller hadn’t hit a shot the entire series, so they were right just to leave him open, right? You got to adjust. It doesn’t give you the context for adjustments, is what I’m saying.
SB: I’ll buy that. I like Mark Cuban, he’s a contrarian.
JC: Yeah, I think you guys have more in common than you think, Skip, I really do. Mark thanks, I appreciate you coming in. We know you don’t do a lot of this, and you stayed for three segments so we’re glad you did.