Rondo benched after argument with coach Carlisle in Mavs’ win

DALLAS — The Mavericks can boast of a cornucopia of positive numbers following Tuesday’s come-from-behind 99-92 victory over visiting Toronto. Dallas was down by 13 against an elite East team that eventually was held to 13 below its average, records a win to move to 20-5 against the East, and vaults to 39-20 overall.

Oh, and while the Mavs were down nine with about 20 minutes left in the game, they finished the outing down the stretch at plus-16.

Ah, but it’s the "how” that is they story of this volatile night.

About four minutes into the third quarter with Toronto up 62-53, coach Rick Carlisle was yelling out instructions to Rajon Rondo. Frustrated at Rondo’s inability/unwillingness to acknowledge him and his instructions, Carlisle called a timeout. As Rondo came to the bench, he and Carlisle exchanged unpleasantries.

And Rondo never gets back into the contest, so Devin Harris (14 points and five assists) and J.J. Barea (13 points and three assists) getting the extra burn to contribute to the comeback.

"It’s an emotional game,” Carlisle said in explaining the conflict. "And we had a difference of opinion. So .. there was an exchange and in my mind, it was over. … In my mind, once it was over, it was over.”

Well, yes, it was "over” immediately — if you don’t count those 20 minutes of game time in which the four-time All-Star and prized trade acquisition cooled his heels and his temper on the Dallas bench.

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Rondo’s review, essentially in its postgame locker-room entirety: "We won. Discuss it with Rick. ”

Carlisle was almost as brief and just as terse when addressing whether the benching of Rondo (four points in 18 minutes) was a "basketball decision” or a "disciplinary decision”?

It was, Carlisle grumbled, a "coach’s decision.”

It was clearly more than that, but there is little time to stew. Dallas immediately travels to Atlanta for a 6:30 p.m. Wednesday tip (we’ll have the FOX Sports Southwest "Mavs Live” pregame show at 6).

So, Rick, will Rondo start on Wednesday against the best-in-the-East Hawks?

"That,” Carlisle answered, "is what we brought him here for.”

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