One of the first people to congratulate Dallas Mavericks center JaVale McGee on his big night Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings was coach Rick Carlisle.
McGee manufactured his first double-double of the season with season highs in points (13) and rebounds (11) during the 117-116 double-overtime win.
“I thought McGee played his best game of the season by far, and that’s saying something because he’s had some other impact games,” Carlisle said. “I thought he was extremely solid, his decision-making was excellent, he was opportunistic in his rim attacks, he was a factor on rolls to the basket, his rim protection was on point, and he made simple direct outlet passes that were completed.
“I was really thrilled for him because I know what he’s been through the last 18 months with his injury situation, and I also know there are a lot of notions about players, assumptions about players from afar.”
The assumptions are that McGee doesn’t work hard at his craft and that he’s too aloof. Those are not characteristics Carlisle has seen in the 7-footer from Nevada.
I was really thrilled for him because I know what he’s been through the last 18 months with his injury situation, and I also know there are a lot of notions about players, assumptions about players from afar.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle on JaVale McGee
“My experience with him the last several months has been great,” Carlisle said. “I love him as a kid, he wants to learn, he wants to be a part of a team.
“He’s having to learn a completely different style from what he’s played in some other places, but he’s totally game for it and he’s into it. I’ve got a lot of respect from what I’ve seen so far.”
McGee followed up with another strong performance Wednesday in New Orleans, recording eight points, six rebounds and four blocks in the Mavericks’ victory.
The Internet was buzzing Wednesday with negative comments about Sacramento guard Rajon Rondo for swinging his leg at Mavericks point guard Deron Williams during Tuesday’s game.
Rondo, who didn’t play because of back spasms, swung his right leg from the Kings’ bench and appeared to make contact with Williams’ left heel as the guard pump-faked before driving toward the basket in the first overtime.
“I didn’t see it — I can’t comment on something I haven’t seen,” Carlisle said. “I think you’ve got to know the exact context and exactly what happened.
“If you know all those factors, then you can have an opinion. I don’t know any of those factors.”
When a reporter attempted to show Carlisle the play on a smart phone during his pregame media session, the coach said: “I’m not going to look at videos right now.”
You don’t see that every day. Is he going to get fined? Yeah, I can see a fine coming.
Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons on Rajon Rondo kicking Deron Williams from the bench Tuesday
Williams doesn’t do pregame interviews, but forward Chandler Parsons said of Rondo’s antics: “You don’t see that every day. Is he going to get fined? Yeah, I can see a fine coming.”
Lost in the excitement of the Mavs’ double-overtime victory was the fact that Carlisle passed Chuck Daly to No. 21 on the NBA’s all-time coaching wins list, with 639 victories.
Carlisle, who considered Daly a mentor, said he doesn’t keep track of his victory total.
“To me, this business in this profession and in this sport is a day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute proposition,” Carlisle said. “You’ve just got to be immersed in it all the time and count things up later on.
“It’s an honor to get to this point to have his name mentioned somewhere near mine, or mine somewhere near his.”