Although the Dallas Mavericks entered Tuesday’s game in Charlotte as one of the hottest teams in the NBA, coach Rick Carlisle likes the idea of the NBA All-Star Game coming up this weekend, even if such a four-day break might affect the hot hand his team has carried over the past two weeks.
“Everybody needs to get that break,” Carlisle said. “Hot or not hot, either way, it’s just important. You’re asking the question as if any of us will have any control over changing it. Whatever the schedule is, it is, and we’ve got to accept it. And we do, and I always look at it and say, ‘Hey, I like that schedule because it’s not going to change.’ ”
Before Tuesday’s loss to the Bobcats, the Mavs (31-22) were riding a season-high five-game winning streak. They’ll play their final game before the All-Star break at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Indianapolis against the Indiana Pacers, who own the NBA’s best record at 40-11.
Carlisle isn’t concerned that the break — with his players vacationing in various spots across the world — will disrupt any continuity the Mavs have established over the last two weeks.
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The Mavs will only have 28 games left after the All-Star break, meaning they will have played 54 games before the break.
Carlisle doesn’t have a problem with the break coming very late in the year and not close to the 41-game mark, which would be the midway point of the season.
“It’s not like it’s on a floating schedule where it could be this week or it could be this week,” Carlisle said of the All-Star Game. “It is when it is. I’m like [pro golfer] Gary Player. When I’m playing on Bermuda, I like Bermuda greens. When I’m playing on bent [grass], I like bent greens. You can’t be [complaining] about what greens you’re putting on, otherwise you’re not going to putt good.”
Carlisle hasn’t reached the point yet where he’ll play any one of his centers 30-plus minutes on a consistent basis.
Samuel Dalembert played a season-high 32 minutes in the 123-120 win over Houston on Nov. 20. DeJuan Blair played 29 minutes twice, and Brandan Wright reached 29 minutes once.
Two of the factors Carlisle uses to determine how many minutes his centers will log are matchups and fatigue.
“There’s a variety of factors,” Carlisle said. “If a guy is playing well, we’ll try to play him until he’s exhausted. Playing to exhaustion is a big key to playing well in this league, and it’s a big key to a team playing well.”