Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said Sunday that leaving Rajon Rondo on the bench for the final 5:11 of Friday’s loss to the Chicago Bulls was “an aberration.”
The Mavs raved about Rondo’s ability in close games when they acquired him Dec. 18 in a trade with the Boston Celtics. But with the Mavs down 92-85 late against the Bulls, Rondo was benched in favor of Devin Harris and didn’t play again until tipoff Sunday against the New Orleans Pelicans.
“We have a closing five and I deviated from it [Friday] night,” Carlisle said before Sunday’s game. “I don’t expect that to happen very often.
“Going forward, we play the whole game to set up the last five or six minutes to have a chance to win or catch somebody or close it out with a lead. Rondo’s going to be in there most of the time — there’s no doubt about that.”
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After Friday’s 102-98 loss, Carlisle repeatedly said the benching of Rondo was a “coach’s decision” and that he went with his gut in deciding to play Harris.
Asked if he talked to Rondo about his late-game benching, Carlisle said: “I talk to him every day about a lot of things. So yeah, I talked to him.”
Key inbounds play
With 12.3 seconds left and the Mavs down 107-106 to the Pelicans, Chandler Parsons had his inbounds pass tipped away.
On the ensuing inbounds pass with 12 seconds to go, Rondo replaced Parsons as the player throwing in the ball. Rondo’s pass was intercepted by Anthony Davis, who called a timeout and later hit two free throws as the Pelicans won 109-106.
“Rondo’s been in that situation more than Parsons has, and they deflected one,” Carlisle said. “He wanted to throw the ball inbounds, so it was the right thing.”
Rondo figured he’d have a better chance than Parsons, so he took it upon himself to switch places. Since the Mavs were out of timeouts, however, Rondo rushed a lob pass intended for Dirk Nowitzki.
“When they doubled it the first time off of [Parsons], I thought I would take the ball out of bounds,” Rondo said. “We made a switch, called a play and their defense, give them credit, they did still confuse us as far as getting the ball inbounds.”
Carlisle praises Coach K
Carlisle paused Sunday to praise Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who collected his 1,000th career college victory with a 77-68 win over St. John’s.
“I know Mike,” said Carlisle, who has 599 NBA wins. “I played against his teams in college.
“When I took the year off a couple of times, I went down [to Duke] and watched his practices and talked basketball with him, because he’s one of the super great coaches in the history of all sports.
“That’s a remarkable achievement, and all the guys coaching in the NBA are glad they’re not in the ACC trying to beat him every night.”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760