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News » Dallas Mavericks Getting Inside 2008-06-13

Dallas Mavericks Getting Inside 2008-06-13

Dallas Mavericks Getting Inside 2008-06-13
It's not a shot or even a game that Rick Carlisle focuses on when his thoughts drift back 22 years. The memory that sticks in his head most when asked about the 1986 NBA champion Boston Celtics is what you might expect for someone who thinks like a coach. He remembers practice.

"The '86 team became a great team early in the year when we acquired Bill Walton," Carlisle said. "His presence allowed other role players like myself, Jerry Sichting, Scott Wedman, Greg Kite to play at a higher level. All of a sudden our practices became very competitive."

The Celtics breezed through the regular season with a league-best 67-15 and steamrolled through the playoffs to claim their 16th NBA title. That team is widely considered the best of the Bird Era and, in the estimation of Carlisle, perhaps should hold the top spot in NBA history.

"There was a definite strength-in-numbers component to that group and to that team as a whole," he said. "When you talk about Bird and Walton and K.C. Jones and Red (Auerbach), who was still around and very active at the time, you're talking about some of the most strong-willed guys you could ever be around in terms of wanting to get it done.

"Of course I'm little partial, but it may have been the best team of all time. When you think of how top heavy that team was with Hall of Famers."

That also happens to be the last title for the Celtics. Boston, of course, is back in the Finals for the first time since 1987 and facing the Lakers. The Los Angeles franchise shared the 1980s spotlight with the Celtics.

"There's so much history there, so many great players," Carlisle said. "The Bird-Magic years were special because that was a time when the league was going through a period of resurgence after going through some really difficult times in the '70s and early '80s. And then you go back to Russell-Chamberlain years, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, you're talking about some of the all-time greats. There's a lot there."

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: The Mavs locked down their eighth consecutive postseason trip with their only solid stretch against playoff contenders since adding Jason Kidd. After dropping 10 in row to winning teams, Dallas knocked off Golden State, Phoenix and Utah over a nine-day period in April. The victory over the Jazz on April 10 clinched the playoff berth.

TURNING POINT: The front office tried to find answers with the trade for Jason Kidd during the All-Star break. With less than 30 games left in the regular season to work with, the blockbuster deal didn't have the impact the team hoped. Recognized as perhaps the best pure passer in the NBA, Kidd never brought the dynamic dimension Johnson's system needed.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: June 13, 2008


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