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News » Coach's talk inspires Speaking from experience, Elie fires up Mavericks to finish off series

Coach's talk inspires Speaking from experience, Elie fires up Mavericks to finish off series

Coach's talk inspires Speaking from experience, Elie fires up Mavericks to finish off series
SAN ANTONIO - The voice of experience was cracking the whip on the Mavericks on Tuesday night.

At the team's morning shootaround, assistant coach Mario Elie asked Rick Carlisle if he could say a few words to the team.

Elie was a member of the 1995 Houston Rockets that overcame a 3-1 playoff deficit against Phoenix.

His message to the Mavericks was simple.

"I just said, when teams are down, you got to kill them,'' he said. "And the guys were terrific.

"We were one of eight teams that came back from 3-1, and I told them, 'If you let them win today, you'll give them hope.'''

Obviously, they got the message.

"He made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that the time to win was tonight,'' Carlisle said. "The conviction in his voice was very convincing and the players took it to heart. I felt we were locked in and ready to play.''

Give him an inch ...: Gregg Popovich was asked before Tuesday's game about whether falling behind, 3-1, had led him to reconsider San Antonio's game plan.

After all, even if it works - which it had against Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry - does it really matter if you're still not winning the games?

"The question you ask yourself is if you turn Dirk and Terry loose, it might be worse," Popovich said. "So that's what you have to judge. Our changes have been toward the other players. We've opted to do that rather than let those guys loose.''

So Popovich opted for some changes in Game 5.

And it got worse. Nowitzki had his biggest breakout quarter of the series when he scored 11 points in the first quarter and finished with 31.

Team play: The Mavericks' all-for-one mentality in this series is something that they didn't have earlier in the season, Jason Kidd said before the game.

"If you'd say Dirk was going to get only nine shots, you'd say we got killed,'' Kidd said. "That just shows the maturity and growth of this team over 82 games.''

In the first four games of the series, it was a necessity. If the Mavericks didn't show that level of commitment to each other, they wouldn't have been up, 3-1.

"They were saying, 'we're going to live with somebody else beating us in this series.' We've all taken that to heart,'' Kidd said. "We'd love to help Dirk and Jet out to make the game easier for them.''

That happened in the first half, when Nowitzki and Terry combined for 22 points.

Briefly: The Mavericks now are 13-8 all-time in close-out games ... Terry was on a postgame interview and had this to say about the sense of urgency with Kidd: "He's probably not going to be with us next year. The time is now.''

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: April 30, 2009


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