All of the emotions expected in the highly anticipated matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and Indiana Pacers fell by the wayside Friday when it was announced that Pacers coach Rick Carlisle tested positive for COVID-19.Carlisle

Because of the positive test, the Pacers said Carlisle would miss multiple games. And that included Friday’s game against the Mavs, who he coached the previous 13 seasons and led to a championship in 2011.

Pacers assistant coach Lloyd Pierce handled the Pacers’ head coach duties against the Mavs on Friday and provided a medical update on Carlisle.

“He said he’s feeling better,” Pierce said. “He had a little bit of a headache, which is what caused him to actually take the test.

“He’s bummed that he’s not here and he understands the severity of the situation. We had a lengthy conversation via Zoom yesterday and he was the same Rick.”

Mavs coach Jason Kidd said he discovered Carlisle’s coronavirus situation via social media and on the team’s bus ride from their Indianapolis hotel to the arena. And immediately, Kidd knew Friday’s game wouldn’t carry the same type of emotions.

“I think the emotion is probably taken out,” Kidd said before the 106-93 loss to the Pacers. “The emotions of one side is probably gone.

Kidd-Luka“I just hope Rick is alright, first and foremost. COVID is a serious thing, so hopefully he has a speedy recovery.”

Carlisle experienced a similar situation last season when the Mavs were in New York to play the Knicks on April 2. Earlier that day, Carlisle tested positive for COVID-19, and remained in the team’s hotel while assistant coach Jamahl Mosley directed the Mavs to a 99-86 victory over the Knicks.

However, Carlisle later that same day tested negative and was able to fly on the team charter with the Mavs to Washington, D.C.

“I think we all went through this last year and we all had the experience of changes happening and being able to adjust to the changes,” Pierce said. “Obviously, we found the news and there was a lot of precautionary steps taken by the organization to keep everyone home and then figure out what the next steps could potential look like.

“We all came in (Friday) between 8 (a.m.) and 9 (a.m.) – pretty much everyone that (the NBA) recommended – and anyone else that we thought we should include. Everyone had to come and show up to the practice facility and test like we normally do. We had an 8 (a.m.) to 9 (a.m.) window of testing and then we did our 4 p.m. shootaround walk-through.”

Pierce said because assistant coaches Mike Weinar and Jenny Boucek were also on Carlisle’s staff with the Mavs, Indiana didn’t lose much in preparations for the game against Dallas, particularly since Weinar was the scout for this game.

“We really relied heavily on Mike’s recommendation for what we were doing from a game plan perspective and film and walk-through,” Pierce said. “Obviously, we had a little bit more of a conversation with it being Dallas just for the fun and kicks of it yesterday and the situation.

“But no, I think Rick has always done a tremendous job of just empowering everyone to just kind of stay in their lane and do their jobs and letting us run with it. For me, I told the players before I’m not going to be Rick. I’m just going to try and keep us on the same course that Rick has already put us all in, so let’s all do our job a little bit better because we’re missing our head guy.”

Kidd wanted to talk to Carlisle, especially since Carlisle recommenced that the Mavs hire Kidd after Carlisle left Dallas this past summer to coach the Pacers.Kidd

“That was very nice of him,” Kidd said. “I was hoping to say ‘thank you’ in person, but he’s not here, but I did say ‘thank you.’

“I wonder why did he recommend myself for this spot. But that’s probably for golf in the summer. But it was a great compliment and I’m happy to be here. We’ve got a great group of young men that are playing hard.”

Carlisle is fully vaccinated and has received his booster shot, and enter the health and safety protocol Thursday. Meanwhile, Pierce said this is just a reminder to everyone of what they need to do to keep themselves safe.

“I think for everyone the understanding that the potential for cases to go up is obvious right now as we’re seeing not just in the league but just across the country here in the states,” Pierce said. “It’s just more of an understanding that the masks are important, the cleanliness of your hands are important, the distancing is important. It just puts everybody on notice.

“We’re pretty certain that there’s going to be some adjustments and conversations through the NBA. Us being hit by it this week, we have to adjust.”

Needless to say, an adjustment is what every team has to do whenever they’re hit with a COVID-19 situation.

“It’s a constant education from the NBA,” Pierce said. “They’re sending out the memos and the emails to everyone about the recommendations.

Willie“I can’t give specifics on who has (Covid-19), but I know the team has provided booster opportunities. I have my booster. I’m not afraid to say that. But I think that was something that was happening before this spike occurred, and I think it’s just being recommended a little bit more now that it’s happened.”

BRIEFLY: Luka Doncic finished Friday’s game against the Pacers with 27 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. That’s the 16th consecutive game Doncic has scored 20 or more points in a game this season. . . Center Willie Cauley-Stein missed his seventh straight game Friday due to personal reasons, and guard Sterling Brown missed his third in a row because of left knee soreness. . .The Mavs shot a respectable 46.4 percent from the field against the Pacers, but were only 4-of-29 for just 13.8 percent from beyond the three-point arc. Is it a spacing situation? “I think the best answer to that question is maybe we watch the movie Major League and get a bucket of chicken and we start chanting,” coach Jason Kidd said. “I think when you look at the shot quality, it’s hard to get wide open looks in this league, and we’re a team that creates a lot of them. I don’t know if we’re going to start running people around to take contested threes. I think we win with the shots that we’ve gotten, and we just have to make them.”. . .The Mavs committed half of their 12 turnovers in the first quarter.

Twitter: @DwainPrice


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