I’m assuming the Dallas Morning News wasn’t very thrilled with the response of Mavericks‘ coach Rick Carlisle in regards to stopping two of the most deadly offensive weapons in the NBA. That’s because the headline posted by the sports branch was quite laughable as it suggested a “simple strategy” in stopping Oklahoma City Thunder scoring machines Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
When asked to analyze what his team must do to make life tough on the Thunder superstars, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle had a simple answer.
“Hope they miss,” he said. “These guys are super athletes, superstars and super skilled. You’re not going to prevent them from getting shots. But you got to be in as strong a position as possible to make it difficult. And then you got to hope they miss a few that they normally make. That’s a part of this.”
You really can’t blame coach Carlisle for this type of response. His overachieving Mavs finished 42-40 — which is a hell of an accomplishment considering Dallas threw out a squad this year that was filled with washed up and aging players. Then, right before the end of the season, the Mavs most versatile and potentially best player, Chandler Parsons, was lost for the season due to injury.
And it’s a shame because Rick Carlisle is one of the best coaches in the Association. Parsons was really starting to come on before his season ending knee surgery and certainly would have made a big difference in making this series competitive. Parsons length and versatility would have played a huge role in how the Mavericks defend Kevin Durant.
But lets not get it twisted, there is a reason the Thunder won 55 games and the Mavericks struggled all year before sliding up to the sixth seed at the very end of the season. KD and Westbrook are as dangerous of a duo that the NBA has. These two dudes have the capability of leading the dark horse Thunder very deep into the postseason.
So yeah, I’d tend to agree with coach Carlisle’s plan of hoping the Thunder miss a lot of shots that they normally would make.
Just don’t expect to be playing in round two, Dallas.