Rick Carlisle has had an up-and-down tenure in Dallas, beating the Spurs as a lower seed in his first playoffs, but struggling in the playoffs thereafter for two seasons. He was criticized for failing to make adjustments in the Mavs' first round series with the Spurs in 2010. When leading in a series, however, he seems to make the right moves. Carlisle is 4-0 in possible close-out games in Dallas and 10-3 for his careeer, which includes two seasons in Detroit and four in Indiana.
Dallas' ability to close the Lakers out in four games and to finish off the Thunder in five has given them an unusual amount of time to rest and recover as they advance. In the era of four rounds of seven-game series, the Mavericks will be one of the better rested teams entering the finals, with eight days off before round three and five or seven off before the Finals. That will be a boon for Dallas' slew of 30-somethings, led by 38-year-old Jason Kidd.