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Mark Cuban Discusses Mavericks Hot Start, Heat's Early-Season Struggles In Typically Candid Interview

The Dallas Mavericks have been a pleasant surprise through the first several weeks of the 2010-2011 NBA season. Mark Cuban puts enough resources – financially and otherwise – into the franchise to field a competitive team each fall. But I don’t think too many believed they were legitimate contenders out West at the outset of the year. At 6-2, the Mavericks have a great opportunity to make even more people take notice of their new-look roster when they host the undefeated New Orleans Hornets Monday night.

Cuban joined Ben & Skin on ESPN Radio in Dallas to talk about the solid start to the new season, enjoying watching the Miami Heat stumble out of the gate, their recent win over the Boston Celtics, and other early-season NBA topics (including a not-so-subtle jab at Kevin Garnett). (Transcription via: SRI)

On the chemistry of the Mavericks:

“Everybody gets along really well. Chemistry manifests itself in different ways. There are guys who are bad guys who just don’t care about anything. Then there are guys who, from time to time, get disappointed about playing time. That’s really not a chemistry issue. That’s almost a good thing, because you want guys who want to play. It’s the guys that don’t care and don’t play and go mess around that create the chemistry issues.”

On how big it was to beat the Celtics:

“You know, it’s the beginning of the season, but it set a good tone. I think it was more because it was at home against a good team more than anything else. We still can’t figure out why we’re struggling at home. But yeah, it was big. It was big because we held them scoreless the last seven possessions and came from six down. We still have some challenges. I think we’ve been up 10-plus points in every game this year and lost two of them, so we still have some challenges there.”

On Colin Cowherd’s argument against European players:

“It comes from not paying attention. I like Colin, he’s a good guy and everything, but that doesn’t mean he knows everything, and he certainly isn’t watching a lot of games. He must have missed [Manu] Ginobili fouling Dirk when Dirk was taking it to the basket to tie a game that we won in overtime to take us to the Finals. He must have missed Dirk’s 50 points. … They’re not paying attention to that stuff. They’re working off stereotypes that have no meaning any longer. You don’t play as many years, as many games, as Dirk has played without having an incredible level of toughness and intensity. … Some people, their foot’s up your ass and you don’t even know it and that’s Dirk. Kevin Garnett will tell you his foot’s up your ass but he’s walking away.”

On the slow start for the Miami Heat:

“Hallelujah, boys, is that great or what? … How cool is that? Now, they could still turn it around and win out for all that matters, but you’re starting to see some of the problems. Any team with a strong, big guy that can score, they’re getting abused by. Paul Millsap goes out and pulls a Tracy McGrady. What, Tracy McGrady scored 13 and 30 and Paul Millsap scores 11 in 29 seconds or something like that? They just don’t have size to battle. They have the fewest points in the paint of any team and that’s tough. … My buddy Dan Gilbert is smiling all the way, too. Again, it’s early in the season and you never quite know how it’s going to play out, but how glorious.”

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.