Marc Weinreich
Wednesday April 23rd, 2014

Rick Carlisle and Gregg Popovich are matched up in the first round of the NBA playoffs. (Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images) Rick Carlisle and Gregg Popovich are matched up in the first round of the NBA playoffs. (Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images)

In a rare compliment from an in-state rival during their first-round playoff matchup, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said Wednesday that longtime Spurs coach Gregg Popovich should be considered the "coach of the century," days after San Antonio's leader was named the NBA's Coach of the Year.

Carlisle made the comments to the Dallas Morning News following the Mavs' Wednesday morning shootaround at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, where Dallas will attempt to even their series with the Spurs, 1-1:

"Why don’t we just give him Coach of the Century? I mean, he’s the greatest. Obviously very well-deserved. They were almost a wire-to-wire top seed in the league. And he’s the best.”

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Popovich, 65, has won four NBA championships while helming the Spurs. His Coach of the Year honors mark the third time he's taken the award home in 18 seasons on the job.

Carlisle won Coach of the Year in 2002 with the Detroit Pistons. He later led the Mavericks to the 2011 NBA championship, defeating LeBron James and the Heat in the first season together for the "Big Three" of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

But if imitation is the greatest form of flattery, Carlisle's biggest compliment of Popovich came earlier this year, during the regular season:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBJoLt3AOh0 ROWLAND: Phil Jackson and James Dolan reportedly already clashing over Knicks decisions

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