If you, like me, were at American Airlines Center last night for Celtics 99, Mavericks 92, you woke up this morning mad enough to spit. If you are head coach Rick Carlisle, you might still be cussing.
After watching Boston's Paul Pierce hit consecutive impossibly tough jumpers over Devean George down the stretch and the Mavs blow a 15-point third-quarter lead, Carlisle took the blame and the attention off his team's failure by dropping a shocking F-bomb in his post-game press conference.
"I'm going to take the blame for this, because we played the Paul Pierce play a few different ways and had some of our best guys guarding him, but we should have come and double-teamed him and just given some other guys some shots," Carlisle said. "I mean, it's as simple as that. You know, when you sit in this chair, there's times that you've got to be man enough and you've got to be honest enough to say that you fucking blew it. So this one's on me."
Honestly, George played great defense on Pierce, who made off-balance, fadeaway jumpers from 15-18 feet with a hand in his face to break a 91-91 tie. The problem I had with Carlisle's strategy came at the offensive end, where in the last four minutes he asked Dirk Nowitzki to do too much.
Jet-less and Josh-less, the Mavs were hopeless.
Time and again the Mavs gave the ball to Dirk at the top of the key and then scattered, turning one of the NBA's best finishers into a below-average facilitator. What, Dirk was supposed to beat Leon Powe off the dribble and forge a drive-and-dish assist to an open shooter? I know options were limited with Jason Terry injured and Josh Howard fouled out, but isn't it in Jason Kidd's Hall of Fame DNA to be creative? To make things easier for Dirk?
Then again, the Celtics basically ran the same play for Pierce. Fourth-quarter scoring: Pierce 18, Mavs 17. Ouch.
Bad as this one hurts - you'd like to think Dallas can protect a 65-50 lead at home against anyone, but you'd be wrong - it doesn't necessitate getting all panicky and trading Howard and Jerry Stackhouse to the Nets for Vince Carter and Eduardo Najera.