Mark Cuban’s quiet time goes on, to Mavs’ delight

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DALLAS (AP) - Mark Cuban’s quiet time continues.

Now that they’ve gotten used to it, the Dallas Mavericks kind of like it this way.

“It’s fine with me,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “It should be all about the players.”

The Mavs have roared into the NBA finals with Cuban taking the traditional, low-profile role of most team owners. Of course, Cuban has never been like most team owners, making himself part of the story pretty much from the day he went from buying season tickets to buying the club.

He’s racked up more than $1 million in fines over his 11-year tenure, mostly for outspoken comments _ like berating the officials during the 2006 NBA finals in Miami, where his team returns for Game 1 on Monday night.

Mark’s a smart guy, one of the smartest I’ve ever been around,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “Like all of us, he has great humility and respect for the position that we’re in right now. We’re all doing everything we can to put ourselves in the best possible position to do well.”

Cuban’s silence began after Dallas won its first-round series against Portland. The Mavs are 9-1 since, so why mess with a good thing?

Mark is a very vocal guy,” Jason Kidd said. “He’s going to say what he wants to say at the right time, but I think he’s been a little been quiet during this playoff run.”

Just to be clear, this is only a media silence. He chitchats with reporters, but has made only a few innocuous comments on the record. He has also remained active on Twitter, tweeting “Go Mavs” a few hours before every game. He may have even fired off a few e-mails to David Stern.

The emphasis is that Cuban is avoiding the spotlight. The only exception was to accept the Western Conference trophy. His mainly thanked the crowd, then offered up the rallying cry, “We ain’t done yet.”

Cuban refuses to explain why he’s taken this tact. If anyone in the organization knows the story, they’re not saying.

Heat forward Udonis Haslem, one of two holdovers from the ‘06 Miami team, offered his speculation: “It’s five years ago and he’s probably learned from that experience. He’s moved on and he just wants this team to have the best opportunity to win.”

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SPO’S POPULARITY: The Heat broadcast department has been running live pregame, halftime and postgame shows on the team’s official website during the playoffs, generating about 500,000 distinct hits so far and with growing numbers as the playoffs go deeper.

Most of those hits come from the United States, of course.

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