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.

LeBron James flips elimination-game game on its head

AP Photo/Charles Krupa
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His Cavaliers down 3-2 to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals, how does LeBron James assess his situation?

"I don’t enjoy being in the position where it’s you lose and go home," LeBron said before Game 6 tonight in Cleveland.

He might not enjoy this position, but he’s pretty good in it.

Since he first reached the playoffs in 2006, other teams have won 26% of their elimination games. LeBron’s teams have won 57% of theirs.

Of course, LeBron hasn’t gone 12-9 in elimination games just because he’s lucky. He has willed his team off the mat numerous times.

LeBron has scored 40 points and/or had a triple-double in six straight elimination games, winning five of them. His line in his last elimination game before that streak? Just 32 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists.

A full history of LeBron’s elimination games:

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Rockets played with fire with Chris Paul, got burned

AP Photo/David J. Phillip
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Chris Paul played 79 minutes in three days.

Prior to Games 4 and 5 of these Western Conference finals, he hadn’t done that in more than two years. He hadn’t done it without both games going to overtime in more than three years.

The Rockets leaned heavily on the 33-year-old Paul, and they’ll pay the price.

Paul will miss Game 6 against the Warriors tomorrow. Given how quickly Houston ruled out Paul with a strained hamstring, he seems unlikely to play in a potential Game 7 Monday.

Injuries are somewhat – but not completely – random. Players are more susceptible when worn down. After missing the close of the 2016 postseason, Paul missed 45 games the last two regular seasons. He has accumulated a lot of mileage in his 13-year career.

Yet, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni drastically shortened his rotation, anyway. Not only did Paul play big minutes in this series, he shouldered a huge load. He took the reins of the offense at times, allowing James Harden to conserve energy for defense, while maintaining his own strong-two way play. That’s never easy, especially in these high-intensity games.

This was the risk.

We can feel bad for Paul and his predicament. We can also acknowledge Houston got this far by gambling on Paul’s health.

That’s not to say it was a bad bet. This is what you save him for, the biggest playoff series of his career and maybe one of the last before he exits his prime. The Rockets would have been far worse off to this point resting Paul extensively and protecting him. Even with such a heavy workload, an injury was never fait accompli. And Houston got plenty from Paul before he went down. He was instrumental to wins in Game 4 and Game 5 that gave the Rockets a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals.

Now, they just must hope that’s enough of a head-start into a world of playing without Paul.

Chris Paul out for Rockets-Warriors Game 6

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The Rockets bought themselves margin for error by earning home-court advantage and taking a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals.

They’ll need it.

Chris Paul will miss Game 6 against the Warriors tomorrow with a strained hamstring.

Rockets release:

The Houston Rockets announced today that guard Chris Paul will miss Saturday’s game at Golden State with a right hamstring strain that occurred during the fourth quarter of last night’s game against the Warriors. He will be re-evaluated after the team returns to Houston.

Golden State was already heavily favored at home. This will tilt the odds even further in its favor.

But the Rockets aren’t completely incapable without Paul. They went 15-9 without him this season. James Harden and Eric Gordon can assume extra playmaking duty.

Still, this is a massive loss. When Harden is overburdened offensively, his defense suffers. Gordon is already playing a lot of minutes, so greater responsibility will come in role, not playing time. To fill Paul’s minutes, Mike D’Antoni will have to expand a rotation he had masterfully tightened. Gerald Green could play more. Luc Mbah a Moute could return to the rotation.

A Game 7 looks increasingly likely. Will Paul return for that? The 2018 NBA title might hinge on that question.

Given how quickly the Rockets announced Paul would miss Game 6, there isn’t much reason for optimism about Paul’s availability three days from now, either.

Report: Chris Paul’s hamstring injury ‘not good’

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The question looming over the Western Conference finals: How is Chris Paul?

The Rockets revealed little last night about Paul’s hamstring injury. Time to see how his body responded would provide clarity.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN:

That stinks. It’s also a fairly expected development. Paul appeared to be in rough shape before leaving the court.

The Rockets have bought themselves margin for error, but a sidelined or even hobbled Paul would sap a lot of it.

If Paul can’t play in Game 6 tomorrow, expect Eric Gordon and James Harden to receive a larger offensive roles (though not necessarily more minutes). Gerald Green could play more, and maybe Luc Mbah a Moute gets back into the rotation.