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May 24, 2011

Rick Carlisle

DALLAS, TEXAS: Practice Day

Q. Have you digested last night's game yet, and looking back at how everything went down, what are your thoughts about it a day later?
RICK CARLISLE: Well, you know, there's some areas we've got to get better. We're getting out-rebounded by eight a game in the series on average, and that's a big concern. Last night was one of those situations where, you know, down 15 late, try to keep playing, try to hang around and see if you can get some momentum. We did, and it was obviously a great result for us.
Now we've got to move beyond that. You know, it's a jubilant thing when you can pull off a win like that, but we've got to focus on tomorrow.

Q. If someone had told you you'd be out-rebounded by eight a game in the series did you think you'd be up 3-1?
RICK CARLISLE: Well, in a playoff series, there are other stats that can throw things awry; three-point shots, free throws, turnovers, points off turnovers, three-point shooting, all those things are kind of wildcard stats.
You know, again, last night was an outlier type game in a lot of respects. I think the one thing we've been this season in the Playoffs is extremely opportunistic. Last night was another example. But I think once we get through about half of today, we've got to just really focus on tomorrow.

Q. What do you think of the guys on your squad, what makes them opportunistic?
RICK CARLISLE: Yeah, a lot of our guys are veteran guys that have been deep in the Playoffs before. They've had opportunities to get to The Finals or get a ring and haven't quite gotten there, and so there's a laser-like focus with this group on doing whatever we can to get the next win.
It's been a group that's believed in itself, themselves, all year long. We don't quit. We never give up. And so, you know, a lot of those qualities came into play last night.

Q. Who brought that laser-like focus to this group?
RICK CARLISLE: I think part of it is this group has been together for the most part for a couple years. We've had some new guys this year, guys who have gotten to know one another. This is Shawn Marion's second year, Haywood, Butler Stevenson, these guys now are really engrained in this. Some of the other guys have been here a couple years, and they know what it's about for us. We're trying to get somewhere where this franchise has never gotten, and so, you know, there's a real resolve there.

Q. You stepped on the Lakers' throats pretty good in that Game 4 in a close-out situation, maybe played your best game of the postseason. How much can you draw on that for this close-out situation?
RICK CARLISLE: Well, it's an opportunity. There's a couple things that I feel are important. Number one, we've got to have a loud crowd. I mean, we've got to have a crowd that's insane tomorrow night because that's how Oklahoma City was, that's how Portland was, and that's how our fans were in the Lakers series. They were off the charts. That helps, especially when you're trying to push over the top and win a game in a close-out situation.
Second thing is, you know, the rebounding is a big thing. Turnovers early in the game last night really hurt us and got them going, and those are two areas we've got to address.

Q. When you see a young player like Westbrook, are you struck by, A, how good he's going to be, and then again, B, how far he has to go on this stage as a star-type player?
RICK CARLISLE: Westbrook and Durant are great young players. Those guys are going to keep getting better, but they're great.

Q. The Boston game when you look at J-Kidd knocking down the game-winning three-pointer with the pump fake there, how poised does he have to be in that situation and how much does Dirk have to trust him in that situation?
RICK CARLISLE: Well, we've had a lot of those situations the last couple years. We've had several this year. Down the stretch we were able to get stops, which got us into our flow game, and those guys are just playing basketball. They're reading and reacting and playing off one another and trusting, and so, you know, when you get to this point of the season the trust level has to be high. Hey, Dirk draws a lot of attention, and when he kicks that pass, he knows there's a real good chance J-Kidd is going to knock that shot down.

Q. What's the key to getting so many deflections? Is it anticipating and knowing tendencies, and also, how much does that disrupt them on the other side?
RICK CARLISLE: Well, deflections are a function of activity. Maybe in the bigger picture, it's a question or it's a situation where the team with the most deflections is the team that probably wants it more. And the reason teams chart deflections and effort areas is to gauge where the disposition is, where the energy level is, those kinds of things.
This time of year, last night the loose balls were pretty even. The deflections, I don't know what their deflection number was, but we were active and we knew we had to be. So we've got to continue with that, and we've got to be more efficient at the offensive end because the early turnovers got us in a big hole last night. Just because we're home doesn't mean that that can't happen again if we don't concentrate.

Q. Dirk in the fourth quarter has been pretty dynamic these whole Playoffs. Is this the same guy you've seen the whole season or have you seen him kick it up a notch?
RICK CARLISLE: Well, right now he understands where things are at. We're always going to play through him a lot down the stretch. You know, that was -- last night was a game where a lot of that was his will that really carried us. During that stretch in the last five minutes, we turned it over a couple times, they scored a couple times, and there were a couple potential momentum-breaking plays, and he came right back down and answered either with a three or a two or a play to get somebody else a shot. You know, your best player is the one that is going to set the tone in those situations.

Q. Is this a different version of the Dallas Mavericks than the ones previous?
RICK CARLISLE: Well, past history doesn't mean much to us. I mean, right now we're really focused on what's happening here and now. You know, we're five wins away from our goal. It's important to understand that big picture, and that's why this next game is important, because this is another opportunity for us.
But in terms of things that have gone on in the past, you know, none of that stuff matters.

Q. Can players like Dirk and Jason Kidd kind of, even at their advanced stage, become better at closing out series and disposing of a team in this situation than they were in other years?
RICK CARLISLE: Well, you know, we're a team, and really the success that we've been able to have this year has been defined by how well we've played together.
And so, you know, I'm reluctant to get into a discussion about individual guys' abilities to close out series because that's not what our team is about. We're the kind of team where it's a great rule that you only play with one ball because if there were more than one ball out there, there are a lot of nights where it would be tougher for us.
But with five guys out there functioning together, that's where we've been at our best, and going forward, you know, closing out teams like Oklahoma City is always going to be tough, but we've got to do it as a team.

Q. When you talked about this team being a no-agenda passing team, how did that come to be with this group?
RICK CARLISLE: Well, these guys, generally speaking, are a very unselfish group. You know, at this point the majority of the guys on our team, and I can't think of one that doesn't, have a pass-first mentality and a win-first mentality. It's never even a question.
The thing that has helped us is our defense has gotten better. It's allowed us to get out in transition, get into our flow game where our passing becomes one of our strengths, and the guys' trust in one another is a real key. Keeping that going is key. And last night wouldn't have happened unless we would have really gotten down and dirty defensively the last five minutes of regulation and then in overtime because you're down 15 with five minutes to go, I mean, that's extremely difficult.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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