Pushing All The Right Buttons

MIAMI — When quizzed about his packing habits for the final stanza of The Finals, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle wisely put the brakes on sharing too much.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for all of you,” he told us Saturday. “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. I just don’t know that that’s the right way to go.”

That’s another move Carlisle has gotten right during this series. The coaches have been reduced to bit players, for the most part, courtesy of all the other headline-stealing issues surrounding this Mavericks-Heat matchup.

But after five games, it’s clear that Carlisle is pushing all the right buttons. Tweaking his starting lineup, J.J. Barea for DeShawn Stevenson, sparked the Mavericks to back-to-back wins. Subtle shifts to where the Mavericks’ offense is initiated from has helped solve the Heat’s vaunted defense. And with Brendan Haywood injured, Carlisle has tapped both Ian Mahinmi and Brian Cardinal for crucial minutes at the most critical moments of the season. And Carlisle’s game-management abilities have always been held in the highest regard by league insiders.

“Well, I think he’s pushed the right buttons I think all season long,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “He’s challenged us in ways.  Sometimes he’s backed off.  Sometimes he’s letting J[ason]Kidd run the show.  Sometimes he feels like things are not going the way he wants to and he’s clamping down a little more.  So I think that was the challenge the first two years, to find a good mix between playcalls and freedom and still play enough defense to win.  And I just think he found a good mix and he found all the right buttons to motivate us every single night to get to this spot.”

Meticulous attention to detail and tireless preparation are not mutually exclusive traits of Carlisle and his staff. Still, the maneuvering has landed them here, 48 minutes away from claiming the Larry O’Brien trophy. Whatever Mavericks’ video coordinator Mike Shedd is showing in those film sessions is on the money.

“I think every series, every time you go through a game, win or lose, you have to look at the film,” Nowitzki said. “You adjust.  Sometimes it’s major things, sometimes it’s minor things the media doesn’t even pick up.  It might be little coverages.  So I think every coach goes back after a game and adjusts, and we’ve done good so far.  I think the major change was obviously starting J.J.”

A reporter tried to coax Carlisle into admiring his own handy work after the Mavericks’ Game 4 win, but he refused to bite.

“Who is this guy?” an amused Carlisle responded.

You can forget about Carlisle patting himself on the back. That won’t happen, even if his team finds a way to finish this series tonight or even in a Game 7.

If the Mavericks win it all, Carlisle won’t have to say a word anyway.

31 Comments

  1. Cogratulations Dallas you win it through the rain.It pays to be prayerful,humble n focus. We are really living in a circle now it’s your time to celebrate your being a champion in the court of Miami just what they did 6 years ago… To God be the Glory!!!!

  2. Princecharming says:

    CONGRATULATIONS to DALLAS MAVERICKS!

  3. hahahaha says:

    HEAT at 9

  4. kenn54 says:

    Why does the basketball season have to last for so long especially the playoffs and finals. I know it’s going to be ending in another week or so, I HOPE,but it needs to be shortened up. After this season ends the new one will begin in about another 2 weeks.

  5. Ron says:

    I think that the Mavericks will win the NBA Finals. The reason being is that they have shown that they are the better team in this series. Another thing I have seen is that the Heat have not been able to win back to back games against Dallas. Even when they are at home they could not win back to back.

    Dallas knows that they can beat Miami on the road and at home. I see Dallas finishing off the series tonight and not allowing Miami the opportunity for a Game 7.

  6. JE says:

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  7. WOOOOW says:

    I think theres no doubt, with Phil gone and Pop’s spurs struggling… Rick Carlisle is the new model for coaching greatness, win or lose!!!

  8. RayAllen says:

    Time for Pat Riley to take over again and bring another championship to miami. Heat 2011-2012 NBA champs

  9. Carlos says:

    One has to admit, it is a bit unfair. The Mavs have 2 coaches, one on the sideline and one on the floor, while the Heat have but one. 🙂
    This has been the most interesting series I have seen in a very long time. Let’s hope they keep it up. I am looking foward to a thrilling game 6.

  10. Shawn says:

    Now lebron is a great player. He’ll get it going trust me. What miami needs 2 do is stop dallas from making all them 3s and rebound the ball and no stupid turnovers just about every possession needs turn into points.

  11. Michael B says:

    Hey look I hate Miami but I have 2 give where credit is due. They are a good team not great but good enough 2 win a Championship. They are lacking true leadership and that starts with a true point guard like Dallas hes in Jason Kidd.Miami has 2 superstars and a wanna be superstar in Bosh.Dallas has 1 superstar in Dirk a all NBA first team 9 time first all defense in Kidd the ultimate guard and Marion plus a complete team that has total team chemstry.How can you beat that this is not Miami year and I cant wait 2 win my 1000 dollars I bet my friend before the series started.And after this year you can believe Dallas will go after Deron Williams 2 replace Kidd after next year when Kidd contract is up

  12. Shawn says:

    Lets see here lebron choked in game 5 and they lost choked in game 2 and they lost, if heat are going to win they need Everybody playing not good basketball but great basketball. they to play like they did getting into the NBA Finals. because whatever strategy their using right now isn’t working .

  13. rafas says:

    I think it is pretty clear the picture: on the one hand a team playing as a team, on the other hand, a team playing as individuals. Mavs will win today or the next one ‘cos this is a team game, not a bunch of individuals…

  14. dear lebron haters,

    On behalf of my son. I appologise if I didnt raise him to be a better person.
    As a mother, I am ashamed of what he bocome, my son wasted his God given talent and is not confident enough to be a leader of a team.I know ever since he joined miami, he’s been relying on wade to do all the work. It realy breaks my heart to see my baby like this. ever since his betrayal on cleveland, I was never a proud parent. Im glad that lebrons dad left us when he was a child, I think maybe because he knew that our kid is gonna be a disappointment.
    to mr rashard lewis, you’re no better than my baby lebron but you sure do know how to get em ladies.
    to dirk whom lebron mocked, please forgive my son, he knows that his team cant beat yours and that the only way he knows on how to get into you.
    to the loyal heat fans who were decieved by lebron, Im sorry if he made you believe that he is the chosen one.
    please look for a better player to look up to. lebron doesnt deserve your loyalty or your respect

  15. dear lebron haters,

    On behalf of my son. I appologise if I didnt raise him to be a better person.
    As a mother, I am ashamed of what he bocome, my son wasted his God given talent and is not confident enough to be a leader of a team.I know ever since he joined miami, he’s been relying on wade to do all the work. It realy breaks my heart to see my baby like this. ever since his betrayal on cleveland, I was never a proud parent. Im glad that lebrons dad left us when he was a child, I think maybe because he knew that our kid is gonna be a disappointment.
    to mr rashard lewis, you’re no better than my baby lebron but you sure do know how to get em ladies.
    to dirk whom lebron mocked, please forgive my son, he knows that his team cant beat yours and that the only way he knows on how to get into you.
    to the loyal heat fans who were decieved by lebron, Im sorry if he made you believe that he is the chosen one.
    please look for a better player to look up to. lebron doesnt deserve your loyalty or your respect.

    -lebrons mama

  16. Ecantcoach says:

    everybody knows eric spoelstra cant coach…its not a knock on him…and
    we all give him credit for taking his team to the finals…
    but he’s been carried by pure talent…
    they dont have efficient sets on offense…relies heavily on the athleticism in defense therefore they switch a lot…
    but relying on talent is what u r suppose to do…too bad he’s not intelligent enough to optimize that talent…
    throughout the playoffs he’s said nothing more than “its a grind…its a grind…”
    its only my opinion…but mike brown and spoelstra are among the most overrated…just my opinion though…

  17. tata says:

    Q.-What do you get when you combine LBJ’s talent with Brian Cardinal’s heart?

    A.-Blake Griffin

  18. Great Finals says:

    Rick is a good coach. He mix it up like he knows that the outcome will be great (which is right). Go MAVS!

  19. mavs will win, lebron is gonna choke. wade and bosh are gonna cry. dampier will blame himself for not being good enough to stay in dallas. spo will get fired and just coach a mediocre team in the Philippines. Pippen is gonna take back what he said. everybody happy.

  20. MaFox says:

    If lebron play ball, heat will win. Mavs def. wont be scoring above 90 this game

  21. TRIBINSKI says:

    DALLAS WE BELIEVE.. ITS OUR TIME…

  22. DIRK'S REVENGE!!! says:

    Carlisle is significantly out-coaching Spoelstra and just another reason why Mavs are playing better TEAM BALL and finding ways to BREAK DOWN Heat’s D.

    Spoelstra’s lack of Playoff experience is hurting his team’s chances.

    Lets see a GREAT GAME TONIGHT!

  23. Allidoiswin says:

    i actually enjoy articles written by sekou smith. very rare now a days to find a sportswriter with some common sense.

  24. MaxW says:

    How can you say this guy is the most intelligent coach in the NBA or that he has pushed all the right buttons when you have the rest of the nba players and coaches telling him how to play and defend against the Miami Heat!!! LMAO. Mind you im not a heat fan but this is just ridiculous! LMAO

    • Giraldo says:

      I’m sorry. But where did you find this information stating that they are “telling” him what to do? This must surely be false. After all there are “Tampering Rules” in the NBA and I’m sure that this sharing of information between the organizations would qualify. Besides, I doubt one gets to be in a Head Coach position if he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Especially not when hes under watch of the mouthiest owner in the NBA being Mark Cuban. EVERYBODY knows how to stop the Heat. You take away the paint and free throws and defend in transition by hitting the boards. That’s how they lost their lone game in Chicago, and how they’ve been losing in this series. The game in which Tyson had 16 boards being my prime example. Of course It’s all a lot easier said then done. But so far Dallas has been up to that challenge. Carlisle is one of the better coaches in the NBA. It’s him, Thibadeou, Rivers, Adelman, and maybe Collins. Spoelstra in comparison is a GARBAGE coach. Instead of writing up plays for his team and telling them what to do, he sounds like their psychologist. He stating things during the timeouts that are obvious like “crash the boards” and “defend”. Pretty obvious things you should know if you want to win. Dallas is A LOT more dangerous coming from a timeout than the Heat.

      Dallas wins this series in 7. Maybe 6 if the bench plays well today. oh and btw. I’m not a fan of EITHER of these teams. I just know good basketball when I see it and right now Dallas is playing good basketball.

  25. davy B says:

    mavs in 6!

  26. Rick Carlisle is by far the most intelligent trainer in the NBA.

  27. 78th says:

    Keep one´s fingers crossed. Out of the question.