Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle has come up with a unique way to avoid getting fined by the NBA when talking about officiating.
He taped his own mouth.
This is precisely what Carlisle did in the aftermath of the Mavericks’ 121-109 Game 4 win over the Houston Rockets on April 26 to trim the deficit to 3-1. He pulled off the stunt to avoid incurring another hefty fine from the NBA, per The Dallas Morning News:
Rick Carlisle didn’t want to drop another $25,000 when asked about the officiating tonight after the Mavericks defeated the Rockets, 121-109.
When asked Sunday about the physical nature of Game 4, Carlisle asked the reporter if he was asking a question about the officiating.
Carlisle was ready.
He said he didn’t want to comment, then took a piece of tape he had brought with him and put it over his mouth as photographers rapidly clicked away.
According to ESPN Dallas’ Tim MacMahon, the NBA fined Carlisle $25,000 after he publicly criticized the referees after the Mavericks’ 130-128 Game 3 loss on April 24.
Carlisle specifically singled out a long rebound by Rockets center Dwight Howard during the early going of the fourth quarter. He claims Howard warded off Mavericks guard Devin Harris, who wound up flat on his back near his team’s bench, per MacMahon.
Carlisle pulled no punches in saying Howard “is throwing people all over the place” and adding the referees need to do a better job in controlling in-game situations, per ESPN Dallas:
We’re scrambling like hell defensively and Devin Harris is going to get the ball, and Dwight Howard throws him into our bench.
He takes the ball, skips it over the top and [Rockets forward Trevor] Ariza gets a wide-open three. So instead of us getting the ball and a foul on Howard, it turns into essentially a five- [or] six-point swing.
That stuff’s got to stop. The officials got to get that stuff under control, because there’s too much physical stuff going on. Howard is throwing people all over the place, and that can’t happen in Game 4.
After the NBA imposed the hefty fine on him on Saturday, Carlisle told MacMahon he is just like his owner Mark Cuban, who will stick up for his team no matter what:
I have strong feelings about how I feel about my team, and I’m going to fight for my team. That’s just the way it’s going to be. I’m a lot like my owner.
I’m going to fight for my guys. I understand the fine. I accept it, and I think they’ll put the money to very good use.
The Final Say
Rick Carlisle taping his mouth in front of a media horde is downright hilarious.
Sure, he criticized the officials and even called out Dwight Howard for his physical play. Howard grabbed a game-high 26 rebounds in the huge Game 3 win. Don’t expect Carlisle mouthing off on playoff officiating to deter Howard and Co. from asserting their might on the Mavericks.
However, Carlisle could have an ulterior motive here.
He is simply playing a game of psychological warfare. He wants to wake the Mavericks up and make this a more competitive series. Dallas’ 121-109 win in Game 4 could possibly turn the tide in their favor.
Without Rajon Rondo, Carlisle needs to dig deeper into his bag of tricks. Much deeper.
The Mavericks are still down 3-1. They’re not out of it, but the Rockets are still in a favorable position to advance to the second round.
From Houston’s point-of-view, Carlisle’s latest stunt could be seen as an act of desperation—the Mavericks are lagging behind in the series so he wants to his troops to gain a psychological edge.
The Rockets are already used to Cuban’s tactics. There’s no reason to believe they can’t put up with Carlisle. Not with Howard and MVP candidate James Harden in tow.
Despite his gruff exterior, Carlisle made people laugh on Monday. Now we know he does have a sense of humor. He even managed to avoid another fine in the process.
However, unless the Mavericks get their act together, it could be the Rockets who will get the last laugh.