Rick Carlisle miffed by Mavs' play

DALLAS -- He had the timing right, but Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle really needs to work on his clipboard-slamming technique.

Carlisle was disgusted by the Mavericks' play against the Washington Wizards during a timeout early in the second quarter on Monday. And rightfully so. The Mavericks team trailed the Wizards -- who hadn't won on the road all season -- by nine points and didn't seem to have any sense of urgency about the situation.

So he took it out on the clipboard.

"I was pissed, really as pissed as I've been all year," Carlisle said, adding that the source of his anger was the "losing brand of basketball" the Mavericks were playing.

Carlisle didn't get into specifics about what he said during that heated discussion. Nor did any of the Mavericks, who responded by outscoring the Wizards by 10 points the remainder of the quarter to take the lead en route to a 102-92 victory.

That's just as well, considering the high probability that many of the words weren't suitable for print.

"If you're going to throw it down, you've got to break it," big man Tyson Chandler joked about the clipboard slam after the Mavericks finished off a 4-0 homestand. "You've got to go hard or go home."

The important thing is that the Mavs got the message. Conventional wisdom is that an NBA coach has only a limited number of rants per season before they lose their effectiveness. If they're used too often, players tend to tune them out, which is what happened with Avery Johnson at the end of his tenure in Dallas.

Several Mavs acknowledged that Carlisle chose a good time for this one, with the Mavs going through the motions against a bad team.

"We don't want to make him use them, but when he does, we know what it means," Jason Terry said. "We responded well."

Added Chandler: "We know coach is a passionate guy and wants us to win. If that's the way he's feeling at the time, if he feels like we're not giving a valid effort or our mental focus isn't there, he's got the right to do that."

That sort of display can backfire on a coach if the players sense that he's screaming to satisfy his own ego. That isn't the case with Carlisle, who didn't seem comfortable discussing the situation with the media but wanted to make something clear.

"The reason I was pissed is because I care about these guys. I believe in what we can be," Carlisle said. "I'm going to tell them what's on my mind. I'm going to tell them what's right and they can disagree if they want to, but I'm all about trying to help them win. Right now, that's all this is about."

Message received, even though the clipboard survived.

Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com.