Buzz: Carlisle paid big to be problem solver

DALLAS -- Coach Rick Carlisle readily admits that the Dallas Mavericks’ roster has many flaws.

He just wasn’t in much mood to discuss them in detail after the Mavs’ 116-107 loss Thursday night to the San Antonio Spurs. He preferred to poke a little fun at his pals in the media, while illustrating the challenges the Mavs face in their fight to return to the playoffs in the loaded Western Conference.

“It’s easy to look at our roster and nit-pick our challenges,” Carlisle said. “We’ve got age. We’ve got some size issues. We’ve got this, that and the other. If you want to make a laundry list, it’s not hard to make a list.

“But my job is to be a problem solver and not a problem identifier. Your guys’ job is to identify problems. That’s one reason that this job pays a lot more than your guys’ job, because it’s harder. It’s harder. Hey, if all I was asked to do was identify problems, I could find a lot of them. I could walk around the arena and find things to point at and say, ‘Hey, you know what? We need to do a better job of cleaning up this trash can.’ That’s not the world we live in in the NBA.”

That’s all true, and we could spend a lot of time just talking about Dallas’ problems on the defensive end after the Mavs fell to 16-13 overall with their third loss in four games.

“But I like our team,” Carlisle said. “I believe in our team. We’re this close to winning that game tonight, but we put ourselves too much in harm’s way with just the little concentration errors and slippages. We’ve got to correct those tomorrow and get ready to go to Chicago, because that’s going to be a physical mauling.

“Every game you play is going to present different challenges. You’ve got to be enthusiastic about taking them on. Otherwise, you ain’t gonna last long in this league.”

Sick Sam: The Mavs appreciated center Samuel Dalembert simply showing up to the arena Thursday night, considering he was sick.

The fact that Dalembert, who knew fellow center Brandan Wright was too ill to play, scored eight points on 4-of-7 shooting, grabbed six rebounds and blocked three shots in 24 minutes was a bonus. The Mavs outscored the Spurs by two during Dalembert’s playing time.

“Sam showed up sick, throwing up, stuff like that,” Carlisle said. “He heard Brandan wasn’t going to be here so he showed up for us and that was big for us. He played really well. He has put two really good games together.”

Blair’s big night: DeJuan Blair has been waiting for this night since the day he signed with Dallas. He put up big numbers in his first game against his former team, scoring 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting and grabbing 11 rebounds, but he didn’t get the satisfaction of beating the Spurs.

Blair, who had repeatedly made it clear that he was mad about the way his four-year tenure in San Antonio ended, at least seemed willing to let bygones be bygones by the end of the night.

“I told [Spurs coach Gregg Popovich] that I still love him, love the team,” Blair said. “They are all still my brothers off the court.”