Mark Cuban has excuses for why Warriors are up 3-1 vs. Mavs

Way back in 2020, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was one of the first powerful voices in the NBA to push for a play-in tournament for the final two seeds in each conference. He got what he wanted and has been whining about it ever since.

In 2021, with the Mavs underperforming and flirting with the play-in all season, Cuban complained that the very existence of the play-in was forcing his precious stars to play too many minutes when they should have been in cruise control, calling the play-in “an enormous mistake(A late-season Lakers fade helped the 2020-21 Mavs avoid the play-in on a tiebreaker.)

In 2022, the Mavs avoided the play-in thanks to a scorching hot second half. But that hasn’t stopped Cuban from coming up with self-interested reasons for ripping the tournament.

Everyone has their own theory for why these NBA playoffs have been particularly blowout-heavy. Two of the four Golden State WarriorsDallas Mavericks conference finals games have been noncompetitive; Game 4’s 10-point margin came after Dallas led by 29 late. Every single Celtics-Heat game in the East has been a stinker.

The “Shark Tank” Guy blames his personal favorite scapegoat: the dreaded play-in.

“As fun as the Play-In Tournament was, it led to playoff games being played every other night,” Cuban tweeted Tuesday, 13 minutes before Game 4’s tip-off. “Which raises the question of whether that has led to teams being tired and possibly injured. We can’t extend the last day because of TV. Should the PlayIn be just 8th seed or not at all?”

The Mavs have looked totally depleted after their rousing second-round comeback win over the Suns. But as NBA analysts John Hollinger and Kevin Pelton pointed out, the schedule changes from the play-in should have actually benefited the Mavs this year, if anything. The playoffs are slotted for the exact same length they were in 2019 with extra days off (for top-six seeds like the Mavericks) after the regular season to accommodate the play-in.

There have been a lot of blowouts, though; anyone with eyes can tell that this postseason has been heavy on beatdowns. The Warriors provided two of the most memorable ones, crushing the Grizzlies by 30 in Game 3 of the conference semis and then falling behind by 52 to the same team two games later. So what gives?

The conference finals have been on an every-other-day cadence, reducing rest for banged-up teams, but that’s because the Celtics and Mavericks took the full seven games to put away their previous opponents. The Athletic points out that blowouts are always more common in the playoffs because leading teams actually make sure to put teams away, and losing teams could be inclined to rest up; the stathead consensus is that these playoffs have been particularly unstable because of variance in 3-point shooting among teams that chuck a ton, which also happens to be all four teams left.

All of that, though, isn’t nearly as fun as just blaming the play-in tournament.

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