Jackson rips Cuban’s criticism of refs

Phil Jackson and Mark Cuban just can’t help themselves.

Either the Los Angeles Lakers coach or the Dallas Mavericks owner seemingly always has a jab for the other one, especially when their teams play.

Before the Lakers played in Dallas on Saturday night, Jackson said he believes the outspoken owner’s criticism of referees might have cost the Mavericks the 2006 NBA finals against the Miami Heat.

”I think he’s toned it down a little bit the last few years. That Miami finals really was a tough one to swallow,” Jackson said. ”I think (Dwyane) Wade averaged about 25 foul shots a game. You couldn’t even touch him. That was really tough to swallow and I think he understood there’s kind of a pecking order in this league and you keep your mouth shut at times.”

Cuban, who earlier this year referred to Jackson as ”Jeanie Buss’ boy toy,” said he wasn’t going to get into what happened five years ago.

”I’ve already gotten fined for that. I’m not going to touch it again,” Cuban said when asked to respond to what Jackson had just said in another room down the hall. ”My opinion hasn’t changed on that series, and it never will.”

Jackson did say Cuban is very good for the NBA, then smiled when adding he was ”trying to be a friend of Mark because Charlie Sheen and I want to be on the show together.”

Cuban has had some conversations with Sheen about possible programming for HDNet, the cable network Cuban owns.

”Two men and a 7-footer,” Cuban said, smiling. ”I could see it. We’ll have Phil in the corner going `Winning!’. Give him a quart of tiger blood, see what happens.”

After Game 5 of the 2006 finals, Cuban was fined $250,000 for his outbursts in the Mavericks’ 101-100 overtime loss in Miami. The league cited Cuban for ”several acts of misconduct,” including going onto the floor to vent directly to a referee, screaming toward commissioner David Stern and a group of league officials in the stands, then using profanity during a postgame session with reporters.

Miami won the championship in six games after Dallas had a 2-0 series lead.