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NBA: Mavs owner says team tanked late-season games

NEW YORK (AFP) – Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Wednesday he made moves to lower his team’s chances to win in order to “tank’’ games after being eliminated from NBA playoff contention.

The famously outspoken owner said on ‘‘The Dan Patrick Show’’ he made the moves to obtain a poorer record to improve the team’s chances of gaining a high pick from the NBA Draft Lottery.

‘‘Once we were eliminated from the playoffs, we did everything possible to lose games,’’ Cuban said.

Cuban did not say players deliberately dropped matches, but pushed to have younger, less experienced players on the court more in the late-season contests after being eliminated from playoff hopes on April 1.

‘‘Once a guy walks on the court, they’re going to play their heart out, particularly the young guys because they have something to prove,’’ Cuban said.

The Mavericks went 2-5 after being eliminated from playoff chances to finish 33-49 after having started the campaign a woeful 3-15.

But it didn’t help the Mavericks. Dallas had 6.1 percent odds of obtaining a top-three pick in next month’s NBA Draft from Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery but did not move up and will select ninth overall.

‘‘It works well enough, I guess,’’ Cuban said of the lottery system. ‘‘It obviously creates some misincentives toward the end of the season for teams that aren’t going to make the playoffs. Until you come up with a better solution, that’s what we’ve got.’’