Tag: Dallas Mavericks San Antonio Spurs

Rick Carlisle defends choice not to play Beaubois, because everyone else was so good

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Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle went with what he trusted over what had worked for key stretches of game six against the Spurs, and for the series. Rodrigue Beaubois sat for five games, and when he did get meaningful minutes in game six — and played well — he still sat in the fourth quarter. It didn’t work. Dallas is fishing, or golfing, or whatever summer analogy you wish to go with.

When things go wrong, the coach gets second guessed. But let’s give the man some credit — Carlisle went on ESPN Radio in Dallas, took the criticism and defended his decisions.

Look, when you lose, there are no right decisions and that’s something that I accept with this position and being the head coach of this team.  The decision to go with Jason Terry to me was the right decision because here is a guy that has been a fourth quarter producer in a big way for this franchise for a long time.  I believe he earned the right to be out there.  In game four, he scored 13 points in the fourth quarter which kept us in the game and got us to within two.  He got in there, we played fairly well, and stayed right there.  Then when it slipped away a little bit it was late in the quarter and that’s when I went with Roddy.  Look, looking back, when you lose, it’s not gonna be the right decision and I accept that…

“He was our third point guard on the depth chart behind (Jason) Kidd and (J.J.) Barea.  Barea had been by far the most effective point guard.  Don’t forget in games three and four, Barea played at a high level.  Scored 14 points in game three and was an impact player and by the way was a guy that probably won the series for us last year against those guys.  Roddy is the third two guard behind Butler and (Jason) Terry.  You had to find the right situation to play him and I had told him ‘hey, be ready.’  If we need a spark, if we need some energy, dah dah dah dah dah dah, that’s exactly what happened.  It’s an easy argument to make, but you have some veteran guys who have carried the weight for your team and have proven they can do it in the playoffs through the years.  That’s kinda where it’s at.  There are finite number of minutes and only a certain number of players.  Now, his performance last night may well change the thinking of the club going forward, but at present the dynamics of the team and the roster are such that I’m telling you what my thinking was and making a point that it’s easier said than done.  I’m agreeing that the second guess can easily be made.

Check out the whole interview. Carlisle defends the play of Kidd, the play of Nowitzki (who doesn’t really need defending, he was the least of Dallas’ problems).

You get the feeling next year, the allotted minutes among Dallas guards will be different.

Ou est Rodrigue Beaubois?


nba_beaubois.jpgOne of the things that Pete Carroll did to return USC to the college football elite was open up the competition — the best player plays. Seniority be damned. Doesn’t matter if you’re a senior, if the freshman is better, he gets your spot. Seems logical, but it is shockingly rare in sports, as coaches like to go with what they know, what they trust. They fear risk.

Welcome to game six of the Dallas Mavericks San Antonio Spurs series. It’s an elimination game for the Mavericks, but they don’t react like that and come out cold and flat. They were down 22-8 after one quarter.

Rodrigue Beaubois was at the heart of what changed that. The French rookie (born in Guadeloupe) had sparked the Mavericks comeback from down 19 when he entered the game midway through the second quarter, scoring eight points in the half (just six minutes of play). It was enough to get Carlisle to start him and sit Shawn Marion to start the half. Dallas kept storming back and eventually took the lead, Beaubois kept scoring and creating chances. He was the fastest guy on the court — he is always the fastest guy on the court — and with the ball in his hand he changed the game.

Then he sat for a rest to start the fourth quarter. And sat. And sat.

Beaubois was out the first nine minutes of the fourth quarter. Jason Kidd scored one basket (his first of the game) in that time and Jason Terry was invisible.

That is when the Spurs broke a close game open again. That is when the Spurs won the game and the series.

And throughout the land, every Dallas fan asked the same thing: Où est Rodrigue Beaubois? Where is Beaubois?

Then again, Dallas fans have been asking that for months. What Carlisle did in this game mirrors what he did all season – he didn’t trust the rookie when he had All Star and Olympian Jason Kidd, sixth man of the year Jason Terry, plus veteran JJ Barera.

Those guys ran the offense better, Beaubois tended to break out of it. Those guys defend the pick and roll better. Giving the kid minutes meant taking minutes away from guys who have proven they could do it, or taking minutes away from Caron Butler or Shawn Marion. Those are some big name veterans.

Just like game six, when Beaubois did get some burn the kid just put the ball in the bucket — he trailed only Dirk Nowitizki on the team in points scored per minute when he played. But he sat and sat and sat.

In the final six weeks of the season, Beaubois started to get some chances. He played almost 20 minutes per game at he end and was scoring 13 points per game on 56 percent shooting in March.

But when the playoffs came, Carlisle went to his veterans. The guys he trusted, the guys who had done it before. Beaubois handled it like a veteran himself in quotes to the Dallas Morning News:

“Everybody told me to just try to be ready and when they called my name, I just played my game,” Beaubois said, after scoring 16 points in 20 mostly-electrifying minutes Thursday…

“You don’t think about it,” he said. “Like I said, it was coach’s decision. I think everybody tried to play very hard and did a good job. It’s OK. But when he called my name I just wanted to push myself and try to win the game. That’s it.”

I get the trust of veterans, the little things they do much better, but at some point, maybe in those early losses to the Spurs when the Mavericks were the team that looked old and lifeless, Carlisle should have gone to Beaubois. Easy to say after the fact, but we were saying it then, too.

Bottom line – it’s a coaching culture thing, and something Carlisle needs to look in the mirror about. You have to go with what works, not what should work. Beaubois worked. And Carlisle clearly trusted his veterans more. Beaubois may not have changed the outcome of the series – Dallas had a lot of other issues – but we will never know. And that is the shame.

Nowitzki isn't rethinking Dallas, he's just frustrated

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dirk nowitzki.jpgDirk Nowitzki is a frustrated man. Frustrated at losing. Frustrated again at having a team that excels in the regular season then falls short early in the playoffs. Frustrated to keep answering the same questions about losing out year after year. You’d be frustrated if you were him too.

And you can’t take what a man says at the peak of frustration too seriously. Meaning you can’t take these quotes from him after the game, as reported at ESPNDallas

“I wanted to obviously have a long playoff run and go for my dream again,” said Nowitzki, who would make $21.5 million next season if he doesn’t opt out of his contract. “Now it’s obviously too shocking and too disappointing. I haven’t really thought about anything about my future yet. I guess I’ve got some time now to think about some stuff and think about my options.

“We’ll just have to wait and see. Like I said, everything is too fresh now.”

Some places around he Web, this is being spun as “Dirk Nowitzki may test the free agent waters and leave Dallas.”

No, he won’t. He loves Dallas, the organization, the owner, the thought of playing with one team his whole career and being the face of said team. Everything he said leading up to last night was that he was not going anywhere. Even if he opted out — and he’s not all that likely to opt out of $21.5 million — it was about securing a long-term deal with Dallas.

When you’re about to enter negotiations, you talk about options. Do that when you’re frustrated and it comes off differently.

But can you really picture Nowitzki in any other color than Dallas blue next season? Neither can we.

DeJuan Blair in car accident on way to game six

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A freak accident Thursday night on the way to the arena almost forced DeJuan Blair to miss the game — and he’s lucky because it could have been a lot worse.

The accident left him with a damaged car but did not keep him from playing, Blair told the San Antonio News Express:

It was a freak accident,” Blair said. “A piece of paper, or something, flew on my window and startled me. I couldn’t see, and I swerved and hit the barrier.”

The impact activated the airbags, and from that point, Blair and a companion were literally along for the ride before the vehicle came to a stop.

“I saw a lot of things flash before my eyes,” he said. “I hit the side (of the barrier) and rode the rail for a while. Then it threw me over to the other side and I hit in the ditch. Luckily, there were no other cars around.

He was driving his new 2010 Chevrolet Camaro. His Camaro, however, is not yellow and does not transform into Bumblebee. As far as we know.

Blair was fine, he suffered no injuries from the incident. He didn’t play much, just over five minutes in this one, but as always looked good in the minutes he did play. He hit two of three shots and was  +8.

Mark Cuban: "I'm not so proud of the NBA."


Memo to Dwight Howard, Stan Van Gundy, Phil Jackson, Matt Barnes, Rasheed Wallace and anyone else trying not to get fined while criticizing the referees:

Follow Mark Cuban’s lead. The Dallas Mavericks owner went with the use of code words rather than just come out and say the officiating sucked. Here, from the ESPNDallas:

“I’m proud of our guys, the way they kept on fighting back. I’m not so proud of the NBA. I’m not proud of my inability over the last 10 years to have the impact like I want to have, so I kind of feel like I owe fans an apology,” Cuban told ESPNDallas.com. “But, that’s just the way this business goes. But, congratulations to the Spurs.”

Just a note of clarification, a personal little pet peeve of mine in that quote, the line “Cuban told ESPN Dallas”: Cuban did not tell that to ESPNDallas, he told it to every member of the media there in a big media scrum in the hallway. There were 20 or so media members there. It was broadcast on NBATV. The hot thing in journalism now is to take comments made to every available member of the media and say “as told to ProBasketballTalk” or whatever, but it’s misleading. It tries to sound exclusive when it’s not. Okay, stepping down off the soapbox now.

Cuban was smart, you just need to be able to read through the lines to get his meaning. He also refused to elaborate on his comments, not that he needed to. He was pissed about the officiating, but he has tried to work on that on a macro level. He has tried to change the way the officials are instructed, trained, monitored and assigned. So he put the blame on the big picture, not the night’s referees, and avoids a fine that way. While still saying the same thing.

Problem is, the referees were not the reason the Mavericks were down 22 in the first half. And that is why they lost the game, not the referees.