OKLAHOMA CITY – Rick Carlisle really doesn’t care that Thunder coach Scott Brooks portrayed him as a chronic complainer.
Brooks, Carlisle’s former CBA roommate, told reporters Sunday that the media should just use Carlisle’s quotes from last year’s West finals on the subject of Oklahoma City’s physical defense on Dirk Nowitzki instead of bothering with the fresh material from the Game 1 aftermath.
Carlisle shrugged off Brooks’ jab, saying he was simply calling it as he sees it. While Carlisle hopes the officials call fouls when they see the Thunder roughing up Nowitzki, the coach insists his comments on the issue aren’t an attempt to influence officiating.
“If there’s been a memo issued saying that if you elbow a guy in the throat it’s legal, I would appreciate that memo being passed along,” Carlisle said. “And I will say this, and I sincerely mean this, if one of our guys elbows [Kevin] Durant or [Russell] Westbrook or Reggie Jackson or Cole Aldrich, that’s a foul. You know, it just happened to be a play that was missed.”
That was a reference to a play just before halftime, when Nowitzki was called for an offensive foul for elbowing Serge Ibaka while fighting for position. According to Carlisle, the first elbow was thrown by Ibaka.
Carlisle used that play as an example when asked about the defense played by Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins on Nowitzki after the Mavs’ Game 1 loss.
“When I was asked about that, I was asked about my opinion, and I made two statements of fact,” Carlisle said. “It’s not posturing or positioning. They were two statements of fact. You’re talking about a guy who has been very difficult to officiate because of his unusual skill set, and he gets played very physically, and we’ve seen it for four years. That’s a fact. That’s not an attempt to lobby the league. That’s a fact of life we have to deal with, and Dirk does a great job with it.
“But hey, look, it’s physical. We don’t expect it not to be. We’re going to have to be a little bit more physical tonight. That’s a part of the game where we feel we can pick it up a little bit.”