The importance of Rick Carlisle

Adjustments by the Mavs' coach have keyed Dallas' run to the brink of an NBA title

Updated: June 11, 2011, 10:27 AM ET
By Kevin Pelton | Basketball Prospectus
Rick CarlisleMatthew Emmons/US PresswireRick Carlisle has made key adjustments to get better looks for Jason Terry and Shawn Marion.

The crucible that is the late rounds of the NBA playoffs has a way of making coaches look foolish. The past two coach of the year winners, Scott Brooks and Tom Thibodeau, were criticized this postseason for their teams' scoring difficulties in late-game situations during the conference finals. The previous honoree, Mike Brown, was fired by the Cleveland Cavaliers after the 2010 playoffs in large part because of a lack of creativity in his late-game offense.

During this postseason, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle has proved to be the exception. While Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks' veterans have played a role in that, Carlisle and his coaching staff deserve credit for an impressive performance throughout the 2011 playoffs.

To read more about the impact that Rick Carlisle has had on the Mavericks this postseason, including the aspect of his record that is encouraging regarding Dallas' chances to close out the series, become an ESPN Insider today.