DALLAS -- Rick Carlisle is planning to keep his team's emotions in check Sunday afternoon as the championship banner is raised to the rafters before the season opener against LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the rest of the Miami Heat, who, by the way, will remain in the visitors' locker room for the entirety of the festivities.
Still, Dirk Nowitzki knows it will be an emotional ceremony. It starts at approximately 1:13 p.m., some 20 minutes before tip off.
"I always said that the banner raising is probably one of the best days of my life -- working for something for so long and being there with my teammates and the coaches and, obviously, the fans there, it’s going to be something special," Nowitzki said after Friday's practice. "But also, we don’t want to get too emotional over this thing. We got an important game to play against probably the heavy favorites for this year. So we got our work cut out."
Carlisle said he's already begun talking to the team about keeping the day in perspective.
"We have an understanding the way teams are going to come after us this year. Every single team is going to be lining us up as their opportunity to be champions for that night, so you've got to have an incredibly sharp edge as a group," Carlisle said. "It’s pretty well documented that on nights when teams celebrate championships from the year before you can have letdowns. We’re talking about it and we’re gearing ourselves for the fact that we can’t allow that to happen."
Jason Terry, perhaps to no surprise, says don't worry. There won't be any letdown, at least not from him.
"For me, it’s not emotional," Terry said. "It’s emotional for our fans and for the city, yes, because they haven’t seen us since obviously the parade. But, for us we’re ready to get the season started. I'm ready to play some basketball and get after it. The banner, that’s fun, but again, its all about coming out here and putting together a good performance in Game 1."
As for the Heat not watching the banner-raising ceremony, Terry said if he was on the losing end of the Finals and playing in the champs' house to start the season, he wouldn't want to see it either. Dirk, as might be expected, pondered the significance of watching another team put the finishing touches on a championship won at your expense.
"Maybe, I don’t know. Maybe it’s extra motivation," Nowitzki said. "But they looked really good in the first two [preseason] games and I think they’re going to be the heavy favorite having played a whole season together already and even more hungry than last year losing in the finals, so I think they’re going to be the team to beat this year.
"I don’t know what I would do. Maybe I would watch it as motivation, but either way that is not really about the Miami Heat. It is about us and our fans and what we did last year. But then we have to forget about that and play a good game."