By: Ben Golliver(eye on basketball)
On Thursday night, a game between the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers turned really ugly in the fourth quarter, with Mavericks guard Jason Terry shoving Lakers guard Steve Blake sparking a fracas that included Lakers forward Matt Barnes throwing Mavericks assistant coach Terry Stotts to the ground.
After the game, TNT commentator Chris Webber called out the Mavericks for being “soft” and not responding to the physical challenge by the Lakers. SportsGrid.com has some of Webber’s comments.
“You play against teams, and certain teams are like children,” said Webber. “Certain teams are like the bully you don’t want to play.”
He reserved his sharpest criticism for Nowitzki and Haywood:
“Jason Terry is the only Dallas Maverick that does something. Look at Dirk Nowitzki, look at these two big guys, look at Haywood. They deserve to be fined.”
In a Friday morning radio interview with 103.3 FM in Dallas, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban shot back at Webber, defending his team’s toughness and questioning Webber’s originality.
“Chris Webber has never had an original thought. It doesn’t really matter. You know how these guys work. The last time I looked it was Jason Terry pushing and our guys responding — no one is backing down from anybody. And it’s the same nonsense talked by the same people who haven’t had an original thought in their entire lives. Look, we don’t care what Chris Webber says. It doesn’t matter what Chris Webber says. We just go out and do our thing.”
Cuban’s stance is on the money. After a heated game — not to mention a brutal loss — it’s nice to hear from the owner that he still has faith in your abilities heading into the playoffs. Webber’s criticism isn’t coming from left field. Cuban is correct in saying that it’s not original criticism but only because the “soft” label has followed the Mavericks for years.
Should anyone really care if they are called “soft” in today’s NBA? No, not really. But they should care if they can’t match the intensity level of their opponent in a big game and that’s what happened to the Mavericks last night.