The Dallas Mavericks are currently 15-13 but head coach Rick Carlisle expects more from his team. After they got off to a slow start Tuesday night against the Toronto Raptors, leading to a 103-99 loss, Carlisle did not hold back with his thoughts on his team’s performance.
“We got our asses kicked at the beginning of the game,” Carlisle said. “We knew they were going to come out hard. They did the exact same thing in Dallas [referring to a 102-91 win at Dallas in early November]. They’re coming off a tough loss. They’re very aggressive by nature. We really knew it, we talked a lot about it and we didn’t handle it well. And it was, frankly, it was embarrassing.”
While nobody is playing in the same league as the Golden State Warriors, Carlisle is already seeing Dallas’s other rivals create some breathing room in the West. San Antonio is off to a 24-5 start and Oklahoma City is keeping pace at 19-9. Meanwhile, Dallas is hovering around the .500 mark as we approach Christmas, one win behind the Los Angeles Clippers. It is far too early to start focusing on playoff positioning but Carlisle just wants to see some more consistency from his Mavs and he let his frustrations boil over into the media room after last night’s loss.
“Do I look happy?” he said. “I mean, would you be happy? Look, it was a 24-minute, take-you-to-the-beach, kick-your-butt, kick-sand-in-your-face type deal. And then, hey, we come in at halftime and we’re finally pissed, I get on their case and we decide to bust our ass in the third quarter. And we played a hell of a third quarter. But, look, if it’s going to be like that, these guys aren’t going to be Mavericks very long. I can promise you that.”
Dallas outscored the Raptors 31-23 in the third quarter, but could not hold down Toronto in the fourth quarter. Dallas scored 32 points in the fourth but Toronto’s 31 kept them ahead.
The Mavs are right back on the court tonight in Brooklyn in the Barclays Center. Will Carlisle make sure his guys are ready from the opening tip to avoid a slow start?