ATLANTA – Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle addressed the media prior to Wednesday’s game in Atlanta to try and explain how him and point guard Rajon Rondo got in a heated profanity-laced exchange during Tuesday’s game against the Toronto Raptors.
The incident led to the Mavs suspended Rondo for one game without pay. But Carlisle said Rondo, who will sit out tonight’s game in Atlanta, will practice with the team Friday and be in the starting lineup when the Mavs entertain Brooklyn on Saturday.
"The incident last night was born in large part from poor communication between him and I, and that’s on both of us,’’ Carlisle said. "We had a long talk about the situation today and we both agreed that we need to communicate more frequently and we need to work on the solution for making his stint as a Dallas Mavericks the most successful one possible.
"I want to stress and reiterate how important Rajon Rondo is to the Dallas Mavericks. For us to get where we want to get and we strive to get this season, his abilities have to be utilized by us the best possible way. That’s in large part my responsibility and I do not dodge that.’’
With 8:10 left in the third quarter of Tuesday’s game, Carlisle was trying to give Rondo some instructions on running a play, and Rondo kept dribbling up the court. Infuriated, Carlisle called timeout, shouted something at Rondo, and Rondo cursed Carlisle, and Carlisle used those same curse words to curse Rondo.
From there, Carlisle benched Rondo the reminder of a game the Mavs won 99-92. And Wednesday, Carlisle went out of his way to explained how the Mavs are a much better team with Rondo on the court.
"We’re in a situation where his abilities mesh with our team a certain way, and there is more play-calling when he’s on the floor because that’s been the most successful way to play offensively,’’ Carlisle said. "He and I early on talked a lot about the right plays to call and the right tempo to play at and things like that, and we’ve gotten away from it a little bit in recent games.
"We got to get back to it. And that’s on both of us, so that’s where we are.’’