Mark Cuban said up front that his latest gripe about NBA officiating didn't impact the Mavericks' loss to Atlanta Wednesday.
Their crummy shooting and lack of tough-mindedness took care of that.
But Cuban believes referees have stopped calling defensive three-second violations, allowing defenders to camp out in the paint without fear of being whistled and giving the offensive team a free throw.
And it's changing the way the game is played, he said.
"Something this year has changed," Cuban said. "I know it's not the league. Somewhere along the line, officials have chosen not to call defensive three seconds.
"We've had multiple games already this year. The last one we turned in, and the league agreed, that they missed nine defensive three calls. And these aren't (close). These were six, seven, eight and in one case, nine seconds, of standing in there. It's not a tough rule.
"I don't know what's happened, but it's changed the game. We're starting to tell our guys just stand in the paint and don't move. But some teams have figured it out before us. It's just wrong. And I don't know who came up with the decision."
Cuban said the league sent out a memo saying that defensive three seconds would be a point of emphasis. Somewhere below that, he said, it appears that a conscious decision has been made to not call the violation.
"They weren't just obvious, they were blatant," Cuban said. "If you just zone up and put a guy in the paint, it impacts the game. But it wasn't relevant to the game today. We were just missing shots. This is a bigger issue, whether it impacts us or somebody else. Something happened.
"Either you're in there and actively guarding, or you're not. So something's going on. It's not relevant specifically to the Mavs. It's relevant to the league and how it's being officiated. I have no idea. So as is my nature, if I can't get answers, I'll let other people help me find answers."
The league has a system in place where teams can turn in calls that they believe were missed. Every team uses that system.
Cuban said that some teams around the league have figured out already that they can pack in their defense without fear of getting called for defensive three seconds, which is supposed to be whistled when a player is not within guarding distance of any specific player for more than 2.9 seconds.
Cuban said the league has agreed that the rule has been missed by referees.
"They agree with us," he said. "To their credit, at least they're being transparent. When guys miss calls, they miss calls. Sometimes they benefit you, sometimes, they don't.
"But we're sitting there and counting out loud, right? And we've turned in multiple games where there are seven, eight, nine missed defensive three seconds and the league agrees with us, what does that say? I have no idea. I'm asking questions more than saying I know where to find the answers."
He said teams are learning to use the lack of whistles regarding defensive three seconds in their favor.
"The game is changing," he said. "I don't know if all of them are. But you saw the game tonight. Maybe we're just the ones that are stupid and I missed the memo. You can quote me: Mavs are stupid and choose to follow the rules. But we'll try to adjust to that and see what happens.
"Maybe you guys can ask the refs: is there a concerted effort not to call defensive three seconds now? All evidence points to something going on."