Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was back on the bench for Saturday’s road game against the Washington Wizards after sitting out Friday’s road game against the New York Knicks because he tested positive for the coronavirus.
Carlisle was in his New York hotel room as the Mavs defeated the Knicks, 99-86. But he was able to travel with them to the nation’s capitol in preparation for Saturday’s 109-87 triumph over the Wizards.
As to the chain of events that forced Carlisle to miss Friday’s game, he had hoped the results of the test he took earlier Friday was a false-positive.
“I got a call from (Mavs director of player health and performance) Casey Smith somewhere around 3:30 in the afternoon (on Friday) saying that there was a positive test,” Carlisle stated. “I said, ‘Well, how’s that really possible with being vaccinated since two shots in January?’ He said, ‘Well, there’s always a chance it’s a false positive.’ He said ‘Look, we’re going to re-test you here, (Kathy Freeman) going to come up.’
“Kat’s one of our testers who travels with us. She came up with (head athletic trainer) Dionne (Calhoun), they did two tests, they got two samples, went back to get them sent out, then they came up a half hour later and got a third sample. So there were three tests on the re-test. So what happened was the first two tests came back negative, but the third one was considered the most decisive one and the results of that didn’t come back until midnight or 1 a.m. But by virtue of the fact that I am vaccinated and the two initial tests were negative, I was cleared to travel with the team but not cleared to go to the Garden.”
In the meantime, Carlisle was prohibited from coaching the Mavs-Knicks game, but was cleared to travel with the team in Washington, D.C.
Wizards coach Scott Brooks has a personal relationship to Carlisle’s situation. After having six players test positive for the coronavirus, the Wizards went 13 games in January without playing a game.
“I was in the situation in Memphis,” Brooks said. “I’ve had basically 100 straight days of sticks up both nostrils and down my throat, and get tested and negative, negative, negative, and then all of a sudden I get one that’s not and it’s not a good feeling.
“You’re worried about everybody that you’re in contact with, but I’m glad it worked out for Rick and myself. Every night I get an email every night from Bio-Reference after my test, and I get it every night and I look at it every night. It’s anxiety because you want to make sure it says — in green letters – not detected, and then you have a little bit of a sigh of relief.”
Earlier this season the Mavs also had a scare when Dorian Finney-Smith, Josh Richardson and Jalen Brunson had to remain in Denver due to the coronavirus health and safety protocols following a Jan. 7 game against the Nuggets.
“Obviously knowing what those guys went through back in Denver, I wasn’t interested in staying in a hotel room in quarantine for seven days,” Carlisle said. “In my heart and my mind, I was pretty sure that this was a false-positive and I’m grateful that it turned out that way.”
Brooks acknowledged the anxiety the coaches and players experience when they go through the Covid-19 testing procedures.
“It’s a very awkward feeling for all of us,” he said. “But our guys are handling it, the players are handling it well, the coaches are doing the best that we can as well.
“We just want everybody to be safe and hopefully this can be behind us sooner rather than later.”
Carlisle proud of Mosley: The superb job assistant coach Jamahl Mosley did in filling in for head coach Rick Carlisle during Friday’s 99-86 win over the New York Knicks didn’t go unnoticed by Carlisle.
The Mavs put on one of their most impressive defensive performances of the season under Mosley’s guidance against the Knicks, who were outscored 27-17 in the fourth quarter. And it was especially gratifying for Mosley, who interviewed for the Knicks’ vacant head coaching job last offseason, but the Knicks instead decided to hire Tom Thibodeau.
“Mose did a tremendous job,” Carlisle said of the man who serves as the Mavs’ defensive coordinator. “It was a wonderful opportunity for him to be under the limelight of Broadway so people can see the kind of coach that this guy is and they can visualize him as the head coach of an NBA team.
“When I talked to him in the afternoon (on Friday) after this (Covid-19) thing kind of got started, I think I mentioned – and he may have mentioned it, too – I just said, ‘Hey look, you probably are going to want to adjust your afternoon sort of routine here, and it’s in all likelihood is going to be your deal tonight.’ We spent a lot of time as a group with game-planning and things like that, so it was pretty seamless.”
Everyone associated with the Mavs steadfastly believes Mosley is more than ready to become a head coach in the NBA. Mosley, 42, was a player development coach with the Denver Nuggets from 2005-07, an assistant coach with the Nuggets from 2007-10, an assistant coach with Cleveland after that and has been an assistant with the Mavs since 2014.
“He can be a head coach for sure,” two-time All-Star point guard Luka Doncic said. “I work with him a lot, and he’s got the things that’s needed for a head coach.”
Carlisle said he was really pleased Mosley got the opportunity to coach against the Knicks.
“There’s a real concern about opportunity for young coaches — young African-American coaches — to become first-time head coaches,” Carlisle said. “And this gives everyone the opportunity to see first-hand a guy performing at a very, very high level.”
After Friday’s game, when Mosley walked into the locker room the Mavs showered him with water and gave him the coveted belt that’s awarded to a player who was the Defensive Player of the Game during a Mavs’ victory.
Texas is a. . .basketball state?: Legend has it that Texas is a football state. If so, what’s the explanation for the Baylor Bears and Houston Cougars making up one half of the NCAA Final Four?
Coach Rick Carlisle said a lion’s share of the reason goes to Bears coach Scott Drew and Cougars coach Kelvin Sampson and their team’s defense.
“They’ve got great coaches and both of those teams really guard people,” Carlisle said. “If you look at our resurgence over the last month-and-a-half, two months, our defense has gotten quite a bit better.
“If you look at those two teams, those teams are great defensive teams as well.”
Washington Wizards coach Scott Brooks noted that “it’s pretty impressive” what Baylor and Houston has been able to accomplish this season.
“The coaches have done a good job building their programs,” Brooks said. “Obviously when I was growing up playing the game in college, Houston was a powerhouse.
“I don’t know if they’re a powerhouse as they were back then, but every year coach has done a good job of building them and putting them in positions to have a great year.”
As to the way folks in Texas insist on the Lone Star State being affectionately described as a football state, Carlisle said: “I don’t know why there needs to be a notion of a major football bias in the state of Texas.
“I don’t see any reason there can’t be room for great basketball as well as great football. Having said that, I love the Cowboys and I follow some of the Texas teams in both sports.”
Baylor, by the way, advanced to Monday’s championship game against Gonzaga with Saturday’s 78-59 win over Houston.
Briefly: Washington Wizards coach Scott Brooks had some fun reliving his days playing for the Mavs and for the Houston Rockets. “I was a pretty good player on both of those organizations,” Brooks said. “I’m surprised my number is not retired yet. I think (Mavs owner Mark) Cuban is trying to get it maybe this time when we go out there this year (on May 1).” Brooks played for the Rockets from 1992-’95, and for the Mavs during the ’95-’96 season. . .Thanks to Saturday’s 109-87 victory over the Wizards, the Mavs are now 18-0 this season when leading after the first quarter. The Mavs led the Wizards, 24-19, after the first quarter.
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