Rick Carlisle pulled a trick out of the Miami Heat’s Pat Riley’s playbook to win the NBA finals.
Back in 2006, the Miami Heat were up 3-2 and heading back for a Game 6 in Dallas. Then Heat coach Riley told his players to only pack enough clothes for one game’s stay — they were not going to be hanging around for a Game 7. It worked, the Heat got the ring.
In 2011 the role was reversed — Dallas was up 3-2 and headed back to Miami. And Mavs coach Carlisle pulled the same trick having his team only pack enough clothes for one game, reports Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register. The strategy is two-for-two so far.
How did Carlisle hear of Riley’s trick? Self-improvement guru Tony Robbins told him. The story came out at a Robbins seminar in Los Angeles this week that Carlisle and writer Ding (and Oprah) were attending.
Ding adds this footnote about the different personalities of the coaches. Riley went public and told the media what he did after his Game 6 win. Some members of the press had heard Carlisle had done it as well.
When asked at the time by reporters at the Finals if he’d packed for just Game 6, Carlisle had light-heartedly dodged the question, saying: “I’ve got a lot of respect for all of you. I feel like I’ve gotten to know you well. But I don’t believe at this point I’m ready to share the number of pairs of underwear I packed.”
The longer the lockout lasts, the longer Mark Cuban gets to bask in the glow of being the owner of the NBA Champions. Sure, the whole “I can’t talk about my players or David Stern will hammer me with fines” part is no fun, but Cuban is loving this winning a title thing.
And during that interview Cuban added another reason he thinks the Mavericks prevailed.
“I’ll tell you the interesting thing,” Cuban said, “after Game 3 of the Miami series, our guys said, ‘They aren’t making any adjustments. We got ’em.’ And so the confidence was through the roof.”
Rick Carlisle did a fantastic job coaching during the finals. He moved J.J. Barea and Brian Cardinal into the rotation, putting DeShawn Stevenson and Peja Stojakovic on the bench, taking advantage of matchups. Early in the finals the athletic Heat closeouts on the Mavs shooters bothered them, but the Mavericks adjusted, found spaces and by the end were raining down jumpers on the Heat.
Erik Spoelstra didn’t make the same adjustments — but he also had a lot fewer tools in the toolbox. Yes, he had Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh (and I still would have liked to see more Wade/James pick and roll) but after that what choices did he have? More Mike Bibby? More Joel Anthony? Do you really think Zydrunas Ilgauskas was an answer? Mike Miller had bad hands and Udonis Haslem was just coming off an injury, both giving everything they could but they have limits.
Carlise did better using the tools at his disposal in the finals because he had a lot more tools to use. Spoelstra wasn’t making a lot of adjustments, because what choices did he really have?
Getting a call from the President of the United States (and getting to visit the White House during the next season) is one of the perks of winning an NBA title.
Traditionally the call is a pretty perfunctory thing — but with Barack Obama in the White House it’s a little different. He knows the game, he played, he gets it.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle got the call Friday. According to the Associated Press Obama was impressed (like the rest of us) with the team play and ball movement of the Mavericks. He also talked about the play Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry and J.J. Barea. Again, like the rest of us.
As for when Dallas visits the White House, it’s during next season when they play Washington. If there is a next season. Which might be one area Obama could help with.
Jason Kidd knows about being on the doorstep and losing. He led the New Jersey Nets to the finals two straight seasons playing some fantastic ball, only to run into the buzzsaw that was the Kobe/Shaq Lakers and the Duncan/Robinson Spurs.
He was patient, kept evolving his game (as his athleticism faded his outside shot improved) and when he got another shot, he didn’t miss. Kidd has his ring as a member of the Dallas Mavericks.
He gets where LeBron James is right now and on Tuesday stuck up for the guy taking the most heat for how the series turned out, according to ESPN Dallas.
“I will reach out to him. He’s a good friend of mine,” Kidd said Tuesday during the team’s exit interviews. “I want him to have success and be successful. But, I think right now, it’s just being patient and all the great ones had to be patient. They had to take their bumps or lumps, however you want to look at it.
“But, at the end of the day, they all found a way to win a championship. And I think at the end of his career, he’ll have a couple championships.”
Kidd and James are tight, they hugged after the game on the court and James congratulated him, Kidd said. (Yes, James did talk to some Mavs after the game, despite what some seem to think.) But the pressure on James is different than Kidd, he cannot wait a decade for his ring.