“Why don’t we just give him Coach of the Century?” Carlisle said at the Mavericks’ morning shootaround.
Before the game, Popovich joked that Carlisle was “just being a wise-ass.” Just before tip-off, Popovich received his Coach of the Year trophy, got a standing ovation, then quickly handed off the trophy and headed for the bench.
Guess which coach, though, got the upperhand in Game 2? Judging by the final score _ Dallas 113, San Antonio 92 _ there is little doubt which coaching staff made the better adjustments between Games 1 and 2.
Popovich might well be the Coach of the Century, but the Coach of Wednesday night certainly was Carlisle.
Afterward, Carlisle certainly sounded like a coach who is pulling a lot of strings in this No. 1 verses No. 8 series that much of the nation deemed a giant mismatch.
“Look, we’re mixing things up a lot,” Carlisle said. “And we’re doing a lot of things that, frankly, we don’t want to do but we have to because they’re such a potent team and they have such great players.
“And they’ve got the Coach of the Year. It’s a monumental task. But we’re in this thing to win. We’re not in it to just get a split and feel happy. We cannot do that. We cannot let up.”
The Mavericks’ defensive scheme limited Spurs point guard Tony Parker to 12 points and hounded the Spurs into 24 turnovers.
When the Spurs scored the final 10 points of the first half to close the gap to 56-51, it figured that San Antonio would make further halftime tweaks and overtake the Mavericks.
Instead, the Spurs committed a 24-second violation on their first possession of the third quarter and committed six turnovers in the period as Dallas outscored the Spurs 32-24.
Still, after his team tied this series at 1-1, Carlisle dismissed any notion that he has a chance to win a series-long coaching chess match.
“Well, the coaching matchup is a wipeout,” Carlisle said. “I mean, really, I feel like I’ve got boulders piled on top of me, you know?
“This kind of thing, you’re playing the No. 1 seed and all that, you’ve got to dig as deep as you can. Look, they’re going to come with some things up their sleeve for Game 3. We’re going to have to counter and be ready.
“I’ve said I think Pop’s the greatest coach in NBA history. And I don’t think it’s close. In all due respect to Phil Jackson, who’s a friend. I think what Pop’s done with the longevity, staying in one place, not moving around . . . . by the time he gets done, he’ll probably have been here longer than (Jerry) Sloan at Utah. That’s unthinkable that that could happen.”
Interesting that Carlisle mentioned Jackson, whose 11 NBA championships are the most in history.
Guess which team and coach swept Jackson’s Lakers in Jackson’s final playoff series as a coach?
The Mavericks and Carlisle, that’s who, on their way to the 2011 NBA championship.
Ellis said Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle reminded the entire team, especially the guards, to attack more than in Game 1, settle for fewer jump shots.
Ellis rarely got to the rim in Game 1 as the Spurs gave him a cushion and dared him to take 18- to 20-footers.
Wednesday night, Ellis knifed to the basket for two first-quarter layups and five for the game.
That seemed to help open up the offense for Ellis and everyone else.
“He’s going to be aggressive,” Carlisle said. “That’s his nature as a player. Our screening was a little bit better tonight. I think allowed him to turn the corner a few times.
“A couple of times he got in there and didn’t finish, but he keeps attacking. And the thing I liked tonight was he had a little bit of change of pace to his game. I think the change of pace stuff makes him even harder to guard.”
On a night when the Mavericks held Spurs point guard Tony Parker to 12 points, Dallas’ three-guard combination of Ellis, Jose Calderon and Devin Harris combined for 51 points and 13 assists.
Monta Ellis goes into attack mode, takes Mavericks with him in Game 2 | Dallas Morning News
Carlisle is a great coach. But it's kind of tough-- I mean, before last night, what was it, 10 wins in a row against the Mavs? Something's got to give. And the players just looked a half step slow against the Mavs all night, just like against OKC a few weeks ago. They'll come back strong. And now that they lost, Pop will have some good coaching material to work with.
As Sean Elliott pointed out last night, the adjustments the Mavs made are things the Spurs know how to respond to. They're just not thinking and executing.
The players have something to do with it too. They obviously were hoping for an easy win. I saw Tim saunter over for a half ass screen in the first minutes of the game, and Pop throwing his arms up in frustration in the background.
Carlisle is no chopped liver. He coached circles around Spoelstra when the Mavs beat the Heat in the finals.
I still think the Spurs will adjust and win...they have done it too many times to bet against them.
When the Spurs lose...it makes Baby Jesus cry
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