DALLAS (AP) — An unlikely sideshow developed prior to Monday night's Game 4 of the Mavericks-Nuggets series: Mark Cuban vs. Kenyon Martin's mother.
The billionaire team owner and local mom became linked because of a brief confrontation in the heated aftermath of Game 3, when Denver benefited from an NBA-acknowledged officiating mistake and beat Dallas 106-105 for a 3-0 series lead.
Cuban stalked across the court, blew off steam at the scorer's table, then headed down a hall leading away from the court. Lydia Moore, wearing a Nuggets jersey, was standing near the base of the section he walked past, clearly in his view.
According to Cuban, a fan called the Nuggets "thugs" and he looked at Moore and said, "That includes your son." However, Martin's agent told the Denver Post that Cuban said, "Your son is a punk."
On Monday, Cuban would only say, "I'm happy to let her sit next to me. I've got no problem with Mrs. Martin."
Martin doesn't do interviews during the open locker room period before tipoff, but during Monday morning's shootaround he vowed to handle things himself.
"It's a little personal, and I'm going to take care of it," he said. "I'm not going to do the whole media thing, back and forth. That's his thing. I'm more of a face-to-face type of dude."
League spokesman Tim Frank said Monday that all of the postgame fallout was still under review.
In the second quarter Monday night, things got tense when Denver's Carmelo Anthony received a technical foul for shoving Dallas' Antoine Wright. As officials reviewed the play — presumably to consider ejecting Anthony — Martin went from the bench to near midcourt to make sure his mom and family were OK. They were, as security around them was beefed up.
Martin, who grew up in Dallas, already was fined $25,000 by the league for a hard foul on Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki during Game 1. That prompted his sister to call Michael Irvin's local radio show and defend her brother: "The one thing that I want to make clear, and very clear, is that my brother is not a thug. He's a human being that's doing his job."