The Mavericks had little trouble with the Lakers on Tuesday, leading by as many as 30 points before settling on a final margin of 19 for the victory.
Chris Kaman played in Dallas last season, and had some critical words for his former head coach Rick Carlisle when comparing his style to that of Mike D’Antoni’s in advance of the matchup.
“Coach Carlisle is uptight and plays games with people here and there,” Kaman said, via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. “But Coach D’Antoni is more relaxed and goes with the flow and tells you to play the game. He lets the guys play and gets a feel and lets you make mistakes and play. That’s the kind of basketball that I like to play. You can’t micromanage every tight situation and pull guys in and out. It doesn’t work that way.”
When it was over, Carlisle fired back.
Carlisle said little before the game in response, pointing out that things just didn’t work out well for Kaman in Dallas. Carlisle took his share of responsibility for that.
But after the Mavericks’ 123-104 victory over the Lakers, as a few reporters stood near Dirk Nowitzki’s locker, asking about Kaman, Carlisle walked in and, without changing expression, interjected:
“I thought Kaman played great tonight. And I was shocked he didn’t play more minutes. It should be noted for the record that he played 17 minutes tonight and averaged 20 here.”
Nothing to see here, really; Kaman was unhappy with his limited role on a bad Mavericks team last season, and Carlisle obviously felt his decisions were warranted.
Carlisle is not one to be messed with through the media. He’s one of a small group of NBA head coaches who won’t pull any punches, and even has some unconventional thoughts at times that make their way into the public eye.