Rick Carlisle backs off suspensions threat
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
WASHINGTON – Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle backed off his threat to possibly suspend players “for not doing things they’re supposed to do on the court.”
“There’s no threat of suspension,” Carlisle said before the Mavericks played the Washington Wizards Tuesday. “We talked about some things the other night after the game, but nobody’s getting suspended.”
Carlisle made his initial comments about suspending players in the immediate aftermath of Dallas’ 111-86 loss to the San Antonio Spurs Sunday. It was the Maverick’s sixth consecutive loss, and ninth loss in 10 games. Carlisle expressed his frustration with the struggling Mavs, who are 12-19 and in 12th place in the Western Conference.
However, on second thought, Carlisle re-adjusted his thinking, quite possibly because the National Basketball Players Association would file a grievance for suspensions based on “things they’re supposed to do on the court.” Five turnovers, not boxing out and poor defense may unnerve a coach, but it does not constitute conduct detrimental to the team.
Carlisle may instead turn to the time-honored coaching tradition of benching players who aren’t performing.
“You fall back on how much you care about them,” Carlisle said. “Fall back on coaching then harder and working on getting them better and then if guys aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do on the court, then they’ve got to sit. You’ve got to get other guys in there.”
With new faces – guards O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison and big men Elton Brand, Chris Kaman – the Mavericks weren’t expected to drop off dramatically even though they lost guards Jason Terry and Jason Kidd in free agency and missed out on guard Deron Williams, who decided to remain with the Brooklyn Nets.
But new players haven’t mixed well with veterans, and it didn’t help that All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki missed the first 23 games of the season after undergoing surgery on his right knee in late October. The Mavericks, who went 5-10 in December, are tied for 24th in points allowed per 100 possessions (104.6) and 23rd in points scored per 100 possessions (99.3), according to NBA.com
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