Dallas Mavericks

Carlise gives Rondo green light to direct offense

Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle and guard Rajon Rondo have a fluid relationship again.
Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle and guard Rajon Rondo have a fluid relationship again. Special to S-T/Ray Carlin

DALLAS The relationship between Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle and point guard Rajon Rondo apparently has been running smoothly lately.

After Monday’s 119-115 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder at American Airlines Center, Rondo even talked about Carlisle sending him through a test just to see if he can trust him with the keys to the Mavericks’ offense.

“I’ve been studying with coach a lot, he called me in before the game, he put me through a little test and I continued to pass the test,’’ Rondo said. “We’re on the same page a lot more throughout the games.

“I’m calling some of the plays before he calls them, then we’re on the same page.’’

Ironically, play-calling was at the root of the Feb. 24 profanity-laced exchange between Rondo and Carlisle during a game against the Toronto Raptors. Carlisle motioned for Rondo to call a particularly play, Rondo ignored him, and the two loudly cursed at each other during a timeout right for everyone to hear.

The Mavericks promptly suspended Rondo for one game for conduct detrimental to the team.

As their relationship is turning for the better, Rondo doesn’t mind Carlisle getting him up to speed with the Mavericks’ play-calling.

“It’s just coach and I in the room,’’ Rondo said. “He’s yelling at me a lot and I’m trying not to crack under pressure.

“I give him what he needs and give him the answers. I’m just calling out plays.''

Is Rondo yelling back the answers to Carlisle during this exercise?

“Yelling won’t get it,’’ Rondo said. “Yelling got me suspended and got me a bad rap, so I’m going to continue to just try to have an even keel when we do our test.’’

Apparently, Rondo must have passed Carlisle’s test in rapid-like fashion. In the first quarter Monday, the Mavericks’ offense was clicking so fluidly that they had seven assists.

And Rondo had all seven of those assists.

Carlisle even liked the way Rondo stepped in and settled the Mavericks down while Monday’s game was getting chippy and appeared to be on the verge of getting out of hand.

“They’ve got a lot of guys that are physical and there’s a lot of physical instigation going on the inside and our guys were getting a little distracted,’’ Carlisle said. “(Rondo) did a great job of keeping our eye on the ball.

“Guys on our team listen to a guy like that because he’s been through the wars and he’s been a starting player on a championship team. He did a tremendous job tonight.’’

Rondo finished with 11 points and 13 assists. It was his first double-double game involving points and assists since his second game with the Mavs way back on Dec. 22 against Detroit.

Meanwhile, in addition to the 119 points they scored against the Thunder, the Mavericks scored 129 points in a 30-point win over the Los Angeles Clippers last Friday. The only other time the Mavericks have scored more than the 148 points they’ve scored during this two-game stretch was on Nov. 13 and 15 when they scored a combined 154 points against Sacramento and Minnesota.

Rondo, though, doesn’t believe the Mavericks efficiency on offense should get sole credit for the team’s offensive explosion.

“When we get stops we’re a tough team to guard, especially in transition,’’ Rondo said. “Our transition offense has created a lot of problems, mismatch-wise.

“We’re playing great right now as far the pace, and when we get stops. And then when we struggle is when we don’t get stops.’’

Offensively, Rondo even converted 5-of-8 shots, including a pair of late wide open jump shots when the Thunder refused to guard him and sort of baited him into taking the shots.

“I’m going to continue to have to shoot and I’m going to have to make it,’’ Rondo said. “If not, I’m coming out of the game.

“I missed the shots I usually make, which are layups, and I made the shots I usually miss. It was just one of those nights where things were falling for me individually and as a team.’’