In the 2006-2007 NBA season, the Dallas Mavericks had a franchise record 67 wins, were coming off an NBA Finals appearance, and we’re a heavy favorite to win the NBA Chamapionship. Then they ran into the hottest and most unorthodox team in the league in the Golden State Warriors and lost in 6 games in the first round. That was the beginning of the end of the Avery Johnson error and predicated the Jason Kidd trade.
Fast forward to the 2008-2009 season and after a terrible start, the Mavs are currently 44-30 and the eighth seed in the West. Their new coach Rick Carlisle, who’s been successful everywhere he’s coached and could pass for the twin brother of Jim Carrey, could get the Mavs franchise back on track by repeating what the Warriors did to them in the 2007 playoffs and upsetting the #1 seed Los Angeles Lakers.
Coach Carlisle joined KLAC to talk about his Mavs.
On the Lakers:
“We play 82 games and I guess everyone has a record and that’s the gauge. Based on their level of success, you’ve got to say that they’re pretty darn good. It’s one of the reasons that we’d like to move up from the 8th playoff position and try to get to 7 or 6 or 5 if there’s any way to possibly do it. The better seeding you have, it’s usually a better situation. We’ve played LA 3 times, we’ve played them in close games but we’ve had difficulty beating them and for good reason. They’re really good. We’ve played them both when they had Bynum and when they didn’t. They’re a tough nut to crack either way.”
On the rise in technology in the NBA:
“It’s great. If you came up in this league in the 80’s like I did as player, and I got into coaching in 1989-90, we were working with VCR to VCR editing at that time and then they came up with editing machines. Now there’s digital stuff that allows you to do everything in real time. When the games are over, you’ve got an offense [DVD], a defense [DVD]. Everyone is able to do things faster and more effectively. It’s one of the reasons our league is a great league.”
Rick Carlisle on Dirk Nowitzki and the full interview after the break.
On Dirk Nowitzki:
“He’s a great player, he’s a great player. I can’t begin to tell you what he means to our team, I just know I’ve been around some great players in my career. I got a chance to play in Boston in the mid-80’s when Bird was MVP 3 consecutive years and McHale, Parrish and Bill Walton were Hall of Famers; Dennis Johnson should be a Hall of Famer. Now I have a chance to work with two – Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd…It’s amazing to me that a guy like Dirk is underappreciated. He’s a 25 point scorer and if our record was better right now, he’d be in the conversation as a possible MVP candidate or in the top 5 or 6 at least.”