Neither Rick Carlisle nor Tyson Chandler had any problems with backup center Amar’e Stoudemire being surprisingly vocal and raising concerns about what he perceived as a lack of professionalism by the Dallas Mavericks.
After Tuesday’s 127-94 home loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Stoudemire said: “I came here to win. This is something that we can’t accept. We’ve got to find a way to refocus, have to key into the details of the game of basketball.
“We can’t screw around in shootaround and practice and joke around all the time and figure we’re going to win games. This is the pros, this is the highest level of basketball, so we have to act that way.”
Carlisle, the coach of the Mavericks, sided with Stoudemire on the issue.
“I agree that we have some looseness that we’ve got to get fixed, and we talked about it today,” Carlisle said after Wednesday’s practice. “We watched some of the stuff that happened last night, and I think our guys understand we’re at a point where that stuff is hurting us.”
One of the leaders of the Mavericks, Chandler also embraced the critical comments from Stoudemire.
“I’m cool with anybody being vocal,” said Chandler, who is the Mavericks’ starting center. “I think he’s earned it throughout his career, and he came here because he wanted to win a championship, and I encourage more guys to be vocal.
“I think he’s only been honest to his teammates. He didn’t say anything to you guys that he didn’t say to us personally, so I respect that. I feel like guys will respect that and get things in order.”
Stoudemire signed a free-agent contract Feb. 18 with the Mavericks for the remainder of this season.
“We were making mistakes that second-year players, rookie players make in this league,” Stoudemire said. “We should know better than that.
“This is a team that’s competing for a championship that we played against. We should have accepted the challenge of competing against these guys, and we backed down.”
Chandler acknowledged that Stoudemire’s remarks were addressed internally. And that the Mavericks will come out more aggressive, focused and determined when they host the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.
“I think whenever you get embarrassed like that, it’s going to provoke some emotions,” Chandler said. “If you don’t, then you just don’t have much character.
“I think going after a loss like that, everybody was just a little embarrassed and everybody should have been a little frustrated and angry and come in today and you have a long, drawn-out film session and compete down here, and I believe that it will transfer out on the floor.”
The Mavericks (41-25) are only 11-12 since Jan. 23 and seventh in the Western Conference playoff picture. Close on their heels are eighth-seeded Oklahoma City (35-28) and ninth-seeded New Orleans (36-29). The top eight teams make the playoffs.
“Ultimately, I’m the leader as the head coach of the team, but it’s really on all of us to contribute to things getting headed in the right direction,” Carlisle said. “And when you get like this it feels like you’re far away.
“But the truth is you’re never as far away from being as good or bad as you are at the moment. We’ve got to fix a lot of little things and that will go a long way toward helping the big picture.”
▪ Forward Al-Farouq Aminu (injured left shoulder) went through the noncontact part of Wednesday’s practice.
▪ Carlisle said guard Devin Harris (bruised right hand) “got dinged up” against the Cavaliers, but was able to practice Wednesday.
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760