Sunday is one of those days Rick Carlisle and Dwane Casey will never forget.
On that day, Carlisle became the winningest coach in Dallas Mavericks history with 340 victories when his team defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 103-93. Also, Casey became the winningest coach in Toronto Raptors history with 157 wins when his team beat the Milwaukee Bucks 106-87.
He’s a friend; I consider him a friend, a colleague, a mentor, a guy who I learned a lot from to be a head coach.
Raptors coach Dwane Casey on Mavericks counterpart Rick Carlisle
Prior to Tuesday’s game between the Mavs and Raptors at American Airlines Center, Casey and Carlisle talked about the respect they have for each other.
“Everyone in the league, and mostly myself, have a lot of respect for Rick,” said Casey, who was an assistant on Carlisle’s staff from 2008-11. “He’s a friend; I consider him a friend, a colleague, a mentor, a guy who I learned a lot from to be a head coach.
“I thought I was getting ready to be a head coach when I was in Minnesota, but I learned from him. He made us think as a head coach — as assistant coaches he gave us a lot of responsibility.”
Carlisle acknowledged it has been a joy watching Casey grow as a head coach.
Under Casey, the Raptors won a franchise-record 48 games two years ago, and then broke that record last year when they won 49 games. They also captured the Atlantic Division title the past two seasons.
“He’s always been a good coach; people that have known him in the two decades [know that],” Carlisle said. “He’s a basketball guy.
“He’s a majority factor in the rebuilding of that team — [the 49-]win team that made the playoffs. I’m happy for him.”
Under Casey, the Raptors won a franchise-record 48 games two years ago and 49 last season in winning the Atlantic Division both times.
If anyone knows the inner workings of Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki, it’s Dwane Casey.
From 2008 through the Mavs’ championship season in 2011, Casey was an assistant on Carlisle’s staff. So he saw firsthand the long hours and arduous work Nowitzki put in on a daily basis.
Even though Nowitzki is 37 years old, Casey hasn’t seen any noticeable slippage in the 18-year veteran’s game.
“I’ll take the old Dirk any time,” Casey said. “He’s still the hub.
“I’ve said that every time we come in here. He’s such a smart player, he knows where his shot is, he knows when he has it going, he knows when he’s a decoy, and that’s important.”
And there’s something else Nowitzki knows.
“He knows how to foul, he knows how to use his length,” Casey said. “I always laugh when players would go in there and forget how long he is.
“It’s one thing he learned to do over his career is use his length.”
The screening of Charlie Villanueva’s movie, Season X: The Story of Charlie Villanueva, will be Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Landmark Theatres on 5458 West Lovers Lane in Dallas.
The movie helps raise awareness about Alopecia Areata, which Villanueva has. Alopecia is an affliction that results in hair loss on the scalp or elsewhere on the body.
Villanueva is in his second season as a forward for the Mavs.