DALLAS, Texas - Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle chooses his words carefully, and when he popped after his team lost on Wednesday night with some choice language there was a reason.
The Mavs lost 117-115 against a James Harden-less Houston Rockets in Dallas on Wednesday night, and after the game Carlisle said: "I don't know how many times they blew by us, but I'm glad we started fouling (Rockets center Dwight) Howard because I was starting to get the chills over there from all of the blow-bys. It saved our guys the embarrassment of getting blown by two or three times in a row."
"Calculated?" he asked and paused as he shot me a look.
"Yes - were you trying to send a message to your players?" I asked.
Not playing good defense is not acceptable to Rick Carlisle, but his team is doing that because they do not have good defensive players.
Guards Jose Calderon and Monta Ellis, both offseason free agent signees, have never been considered strong at the perimeter. Calderon because the ability is lacking, and Ellis because most of his energy is spent scoring. And it really does not help there is no scary rim protecter to deter dribble penetration. That was a flaw in this team from Day 1, which they have compensated for by ranking seventh in the NBA in scoring.
"We have to do a better job with our stance. Moving our feet. Getting our body positioned right, and our help," Carlisle said. "Early help guys have to show more help. When players in this league see big gaps, they put their head down and drive it and look for the official to blow the whistle."
The Mavs are giving up 102.7 points per game, 24th in the NBA. Opponents are shooting .464 against the Mavs, 26th in the league. It's a perfect recipe for the eighth seed in the West, and some nasty comments from the head coach.
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