DALLAS -- Before Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle took questions, he apologized for kicking a ball into the stands that boinked a young boy on the noggin and led to Carlisle's second technical foul and ejection from Wednesday's 95-86 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"I want to apologize to our franchise, Mark [Cuban], our fans," Carlisle said. "The incident where the ball got kicked into the stands -- that can’t happen. My intent was not to kick it into the stands, I was trying to kick it to the referee, but I’m not a very good kick. But, that can’t happen; the officials made the right call on that one. That’s a regrettable situation."
It's many of the other calls -- or non-calls -- that Carlisle objected to. He picked up his first technical 27 seconds into the fourth quarter when he felt Delonte West got fouled on a drive to the basket. Carlisle's night ended about two minutes later when Jason Terry lost the ball to Nick Collison, who Carlisle thought should have been whistled for a foul.
Thunder guard Russell Westbrook flew in for a dunk and a 75-67 lead. The ball rolled toward the Mavs bench and Carlisle kicked at it and the ball landed in the floor seats. Carlisle was quickly booted, but before he left the floor, he walked over to the seats and apologized to the fans.
Asked if he was frustrated by the officiating, Calrisle said: "Well, that’s obvious. But look, we weren’t playing well either. When you’re not playing well, a lot of things get magnified. The ball wasn’t going in the basket, there were some other things we needed to do better. They were playing pretty well, and they were getting to the rim on us; that caused a lot of problems. The free throw disparity was huge [33 to 25 in favor of OKC], but the number of makes versus makes [24-22 in favor of OKC] wasn’t that far apart. It was just a tough night for us."
Mavs forward Shawn Marion said his coach was justified in his reaction.
"It was an interesting night,'' Marion said. "He could try out for FIFA. He was right, though. It was an interesting game. It was emotional at times and Rick felt like he needed to make his presence felt. It was kind of crazy how the possessions went. We attack the basket strong and didn't get anything. They call ticky-tack down on the other end. Just a bad night all the way around. But we were still right there in position to win the game.''