Sunday, December 26, 2010
Dwane Casey to coach Mavs in OKC
By Jeff Caplan
DALLAS -- Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle underwent minor arthroscopic knee surgery Wednesday and is unable to travel, so he'll hand over the reins to assistant coach Dwane Casey for Monday night's game at the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"It is no different. [Assistant coach] Terry [Stotts] and I both have been through this before," said Casey, who directed Sunday's practice in Carlisle's absence.
"We have veteran players and we just have to continue what we have [been doing]. What we have to do is regroup and re-energize our edge, the edge that we had before the break, especially against a team like Oklahoma City."
Carlisle is expected to return to the bench for Tuesday's home game against the Toronto Raptors.
The Mavericks (23-5) haven't played since Tuesday night, when they won at Orlando to complete a back-to-back Florida sweep. Dallas, which snapped Miami's 12-game win streak last Monday, has won four in a row and 16 of its last 17 games.
Oklahoma City (21-10) is coming off a 114-106 home win over Denver on Christmas night.
Casey serves as the Mavs' defensive coordinator and is at the heart of the team's increased and impactful use of zone defense this season. He went 53-69 in Minnesota after being given just 1½ years in his first go as a head coach. He was fired partway into his second season with the team at 20-20.
Casey coached the Mavericks in this preseason's outdoor game in Palm Springs, Calif., against the Phoenix Suns. Carlisle fainted during practice the day before and was rushed to a local hospital. He was released soon after but did not make the trip.
"We're just going to go out there and play hard and try to get the win," Mavericks forward Caron Butler said. "That's our mindset. It will be a little different not having him [Carlisle] there, but we'll still go out there and continue to play as hard as we can."
Carlisle is 128-64 in is his third season with the Mavs.
Jeff Caplan covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his mailbag.