Maintaining control is vital to success for an NBA coach, and that includes self-control. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle perfectly demonstrated that principle in hilarious fashion during his press conference following Dallas's 121-109 home victory over Houston in Game 4 Sunday.
Carlisle jokingly put tape over his mouth to avoid incurring another fine for publicly criticizing the NBA's referees. When asked about the "physicality" of Game 4, which included a number of minor dust-ups and a total of five technical fouls, Carlisle immediately went into a prepared routine.
"Are you asking me a question about the officiating? I brought something just for that," Carlisle responded, as he placed a piece of tape over his mouth. "I have to be careful."
[daily_cut.NBA]“My hope is that in Game 4—the one play that’s kind of an image stuck in my mind, and I just looked at it six times on the film, is the first play of the fourth quarter,” Carlisle said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “We’re scrambling like hell defensively, and Devin Harris is going to get the ball, and Dwight Howard throws him into our bench. ... That stuff’s got to stop. The officials [have] 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.
"They’re a more physical team, but this series has got to be played within the rules."
After the fine came down, Carlisle told ESPN.com that he has "strong feelings" about his team and that he, like outspoken owner Mark Cuban, would "fight for my guys."
"I understand the fine," he added. "I accept it, and I think they'll put the money to very good use."
Incidentally, Carlisle received one of the five technical fouls handed out by the officials in Game 4.
By beating the Rockets on Sunday, the Mavericks avoided a sweep and forced a Game 5 in Houston on Tuesday.
James Harden scored a team-high 24 points and added five rebounds and five assists for Houston. Howard posted 13 points and seven rebounds.
No. 2 Houston holds a 3-1 series lead over No. 7 Dallas.