Rick Carlisle is one of the best basketball coach in the world. If it weren’t for Greg Popovich didn’t exist I would be making the case he is the greatest coach on the planet. Two days ago, the inmates had taken over the asylum, Mike James, Chris Kaman, and others were forcing up shots in attempt to increase their attractiveness to other teams, not to increase the Mavs chances to win.
Last night though, maybe not surprisingly in conjunction with the return of Shawn Marion, the Mavericks remembered they are an NBA team and not a group of mercenaries. Marion was the catalysist, grabbing rebounds and taking only 7 shots. Marions unselfish play rubbed off on the rest of the team and the Mavericks looked whole for the first time in a week beating Boston 104-94.
Carlisle also had a pregame talk with the team about shot selection and who the offense should run through. His offense allows for players to make their own plays, and in Carlisle own words, when Jason Kidd and Jason Terry were handling the ball, the ball found Dirk. While the coach refuses to make excuses, he was essentially saying his guard play was at fault for Dirk not getting shots during his recent hot streak.
The team didn’t overreact to Carlisle suggestions though, Dirk didn’t get 25 shots. In fact two Mavericks had more shots that Nowitzki. But the type of shots that Brandan Wright and Vince Carter took were in the offense. Wright scored 23 points by slipping screens and finding the holes in the paint created by Boston’s shifting their defense to Dirk. Vince Carter may have over-shot a bit on route to 17 shots, but that is his role on the team. Dirk took a more reasonable 15 shots, scoring 22 points while being hounded by former defensive player of the year Kevin Garnett.
Dallas dominated this game, leading wire to wire, with each player playing his role for the most part. If this continues, and Carlisle can continue to persuade players to play for the shirt, then Dallas at just 2 1/2 games back of the 8 spot, still have a shot at continuing the 12 year playoff streak.
Jet got the reception he deserved upon entering the game in his first game back in Dallas. Twenty thousand Mavs fans rose from their seats to applaud him. Terry is clearly not the player he was in 2011, but it didn’t matter to Dallas faithful who knew how much he had meant to the most successful period in their history. Rick Carlisle, who is close to the Terry family, called Jason “Mavericks royalty” and couldn’t have been more correct.
Terry had flaws, and his poorest performances often paralleled the Mavericks failures, but his greatest moments where epic. Jet has a two finals appearances and one championship to show for his stay with the Mavs. Terry stared down the dominate force in the league, LeBron James, and outplayed him allowing Dallas to win it’s only title. Jason’s blend of three point acumen solid ball handling, smart play making and pure bravado made him the perfect complement to Dirk. It is a combination the Mavs have missed dearly this season.
How many times have we belabored the Mavericks late game failures this season? Jason Terry was a clutch players who alongside Nowtizki, finished close games off for Dallas for the better part of a decade. You can’t write the book on the Mavs without several chapters about Jason Terry, and that is why before long, the number 31 will hang from the rafters at the AAC.