Only one coach has ever beaten LeBron James in The NBA Finals and it’s the same coach whose team pushed the San Antonio Spurs to a Game 7 in this year’s first round of the playoffs. He just happens to oversee the Dallas Mavericks.
Before coming to Dallas, Rick Carlisle served a stint an analyst for ESPN. So the network asked him before The Finals to give his keys to the series.
He came up with five:
1. “NBA defenses are so sophisticated now. You don't want to give them a chance to get fully established. When we played Miami in the Finals, we knew that if we called any plays we were doomed. We had to play faster than that. Popovich really pioneered a lot of that. There is a pendulum on a lot of these things, but I really don't see faster offense going away.”
2. “Gregg Popovich is the greatest coach ever.”
3. “The Heat don't have big-time rim protectors. LeBron James will block some shots. Dwyane Wade will get some blocks. But how they handle the Spurs penetration will tell a lot.”
4. “Neither team is great at rebounding. It's a chance to establish an edge.”
5. “In the NFL, turnovers practically determine every game. In the NBA it's not like that. But in this series it might be. Both teams take such good care of the ball, and I expect the games to be very close. Turnovers could determine everything.”
Though he refused to pick a Finals winner, let’s assume Carlisle had it 1-1 as the series heads to South Beach.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.