Harrison Barnes praises Mavs coach Rick Carlisle for having 'our back'

DALLAS -- Frustration over Harrison Barnes not getting foul calls led to Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle getting ejected in the third quarter of Thursday's 114-107 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

After complaining several times about no-calls on Barnes' drives, Carlisle stepped onto the court to argue the case with referee Justin Van Duyne as the official ran down the sideline by the Dallas bench. It earned Carlisle a technical with 7:38 remaining in the third quarter. Carlisle quickly received another technical foul, this one called by referee Sean Wright, when he stepped further onto the court and repeatedly yelled, "Blow the whistle!" while mimicking the act with his right hand and mouth.

"I do appreciate that Coach always has our back as players," said Barnes, who scored a game-high 25 points in the win, shooting 8-of-16 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the line. "When you're competing out there and you see your head coach has got your back, that makes you feel good."

Carlisle did not talk to the media after the win, sending lead assistant Stephen Silas to handle the postgame news conference.

His difficulty drawing fouls has been a building source of frustration for Barnes, who is averaging 18.0 points per game, tied with rookie Luka Doncic for the team lead. Barnes averages 4.1 free throw attempts per game, the same as last season.

"It'd be great to go to the free throw line," said Barnes, who drew contact on a drive but didn't get a call immediately before Carlisle's ejection. "I ask the refs on almost every play what I could be doing or what I'm not doing. Still haven't got any answers from that. Maybe [NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe] can give me some answers. I'm just trying to be aggressive and trying to find spots where I can."

Asked if he has been in contact with VanDeWeghe, Barnes said Dirk Nowitzki often talks to the league executive.

"Dirty talks to him all the time, so I'm just going to try to get his number from him and reach out," said Barnes, who has not been called for a technical since his rookie season. "Like [NBA vice president, head of referee development and training] Monty McCutchen said, it's all about the relationships between refs and players. That's an emphasis of the league, so I just want to try to learn more about that."

Dallas trailed by six after Hawks center Dewayne Dedmon made the two technical free throws after Carlisle's ejection. The Mavs immediately responded with a 16-5 run and led the rest of the game.

"Rick did that. He got them going," Silas said. "His energy got them going, and I tried to continue that energy with the group. They did a really good job after Rick got thrown out of the game."