INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana coach Rick Carlisle wasn’t at all surprised that the NBA rescinded Luka Doncic’s 16th technical foul, allowing the Dallas Mavericks’ point guard to play in Monday’s game against his Pacers.
Carlisle, who coached Doncic during his first three NBA seasons with the Mavs from 2018-21, has seen firsthand the type of physical beating Doncic receives on a nightly basis.
“Like a lot of great players, he gets hit on virtually every play,” Carlisle said prior to the Mavs’ 127-104 win over the Pacers on Monday. “I’ve seen it close up.
“As a coach, I’m leading the league in technical fouls for coaches (with 11). I empathize with disagreements with officials. Sometimes it gets emotional, but I wasn’t the least bit surprised it was rescinded.”
“I think we were all excited to be able to have him play with the expectations of maybe not having him due to the (technical),” coach Jason Kidd said. “With the league rescinding the (technical), we have the opportunity for your best player to play.”
Doncic received his 16th technical foul and the automatic one-game suspension during the third quarter of Sunday’s 110-104 loss to the Charlotte Hornets when he said something to referee Nick Buchert.
“I didn’t really get a very close study on what happened,” Carlisle said. “At that point, unless it’s something really over the top, with what everybody is competing for you can’t have a guy lose a game.”
Meanwhile, even if it was at his team’s expense, Carlisle wanted Doncic’s technical rescinded.
“It gives our young guys a chance to play against another great player for another night, which is great for us,” he said. “It makes it tougher to win the game, for sure, but this is experience you can’t duplicate.
“We only play these guys twice a year.”
Not knowing if the NBA would rescind Doncic’s technical, Carlisle said, didn’t affect his game plan as he prepared to play the Mavs.
“We had a walk-through at 4 o’clock, so it didn’t affect us at all,” he said. “I just assumed he was going to play.
As far as his own string of technical fouls are concerned, Carlisle learned Monday that coaches also will serve a one-game suspension following their 16th technical foul.
“I don’t know how many I have,” said Carlisle before he was informed he has 11 technicals. “I just know that I’m well past five. That’s how many your team can pay for.
“When you go beyond five, they’re not cheap. If you’re going to get them you’ve got to get your money’s worth out of them.”
SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT: Coach Jason Kidd said a lot of support and encouragement is what it takes when teams going through the struggling stages of their schedule.
“It’s just a matter of relaxing and trusting one another,” Kidd said. “All teams go through a tough period. Some would rather have it earlier (in the season) than late. We’re just having it right now.”
Before defeating the Pacers on Monday, the Mavs had dropped 13 of their previous 18 games. But they always stayed positive, knowing that a victory was just around the corner.
“It’s a great test of character to stay together, to keep working the process, and then understanding that when you’re open, shoot the ball,” Kidd said. “And then on the defensive end, be connected and help one another and finish the play by getting a rebound.
“I think those are the things that can help you get to a better start.”
There are other factors in play, also, according to Kidd. Especially when teams are playing away from home.
“It’s just us on the road,” Kidd said. “We just have to do a better job of making sure that we’re not tense or we’re not over-thinking things.”
Kidd said a lot of the encouragement for the Mavs during their losing spell came from guard Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.
“When you look at our two leaders, when you look at Luka and Kai, those guys are talking to their teammates (and) they’re encouraging them,” Kidd said. “I think those two have done a great job of keeping guys connected and keep talking at halftime — after the game, at breakfast meetings — to understand that it’s not just one shot or one person that’s going to do it. It’s a team. It’s a great test for us to go through.”
POSTGAME MEETING: The Mavs had a meeting right after Sunday’s loss to the Charlotte Hornets. Coach Jason Kidd said some of it consisted of how he can help his players.
“As coaches, what can we do better to put guys in situations, stay positive,” Kidd said. “Again, the energy of being positive, but the energy of encouraging them to stay focused.”
And staying focused on the task at hand is what Kidd hopes will drive his team towards securing a playoff spot for the second year in a row.
“Do we understand what’s at stake?,” Kidd rhetorically asked. “It’s not about just today, but next season (and) the season after that of being able to reflect on being in tough situations and what did you do in the situation.
“When you look at our locker room, there’s maybe a handful of guys who’ve been in this situation.”
BRIEFLY: Center Maxi Kleber didn’t dress for Monday’s game against Indiana due to right hamstring/injury recovery. Coach Jason Kidd said Kleber was a bit sore. “We trust that he’ll be honest as much as he really wants to play,” Kidd said before Monday’s game. “We also have three more games on this trip that we’ll need him.”. . . Asked about getting beat on the boards, 58-36, to Charlotte on Sunday, Kidd said: “It’s been something that’s been our problem all season. The physicality of being consistent of boxing out. You look at, maybe look at some different guys who haven’t had the opportunity to play. But I think it’s a team effort just because of small ball and where teams play today. That’s just been something that’s come back to hurt us here the last couple of games.”. . . Luka Doncic picked up his NBA-high 49th game this season with at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists when he finished Monday’s contest against Indiana with 25 points, seven rebounds and six assists. It’s the fourth straight season Doncic has at least 49 games with at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists. Doncic also joined Dirk Nowitzki and Mark Aguirre as the only members of the Mavs to score at least 2,000 points in one season. . .With the 20 points he scored Monday, 20-year old Jaden Hardy by-passed Jamal Mashburn and recorded his eighth 20-point game before turning 21 years old. The only two players ahead of Hardy in this category are Luka Doncic (86) and Dennis Smith Jr. (18). Hardy is averaging 16.4 ppg and shooting 46 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point land over his past 10 games.