After opening up the season by losing to the lottery-bound Atlanta Hawks, Rick Carlisle takes blame for the poor effort from his Mavs.
If you were heading into opening night with a rookie starting point guard looking to make a big splash at home, the Atlanta Hawks would be one of the five to six teams you would pick to play if you had a choice.
Except the Hawks came in and beat Dallas on their own court on opening night behind Dennis Schroder, Marco Belinelli and a bunch of players the casual NBA fan wouldn’t know.
One of the biggest factors that could have led to the disappointing loss was Rick Carlisle’s decision to bench Nerlens Noel for the likes of Dwight Powell to end the game.
“Dwight hit two or three threes in a row. They were having trouble finding him,” Carlisle said.
In the fourth quarter, Powell hit two three pointers that were crucial in Dallas’ ability to stay within striking distance to Atlanta. But some, like myself, believe the threes by Powell were almost counterproductive because of Powell’s inability to contribute in the other areas of the game…like rebounding and interior defense.
Especially when Nerlens Noel was sitting on the bench.
“He had one good play that led to a three,” Carlisle said when talking about Powell. “It was just one of those coach’s decisions. We were making some headway with him out there. These things are tough calls.”
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Noel finished the night with 16 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks on just 20 minutes of play. Even though the fan base was begging for Noel, Carlisle says he can live with the Powell over Noel decision, but he can’t live with the lack of effort from the team.
“The thing I can’t live with is the fact that we didn’t do a good job in the effort areas and that is on me. I just didn’t have these guys prepared enough to play,” Carlisle said.
Carlisle took ownership of it. He admitted that he didn’t have the guys to the level of preparation that he expects.
Dallas was out rebounded by nine rebounds and the Hawks finished the night with 14 offensive boards. Atlanta also had six more steals, two more blocks and 18 more points in the paint than Dallas.
With Carlisle taking the blame, now Dallas faces a unique Sacramento team at home where their effort will need to be at a full max level.