- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 23, 2011

ARLINGTON, TEXAS (AP) - Rick Carlisle threw a strike after finally getting a chance to watch in detail the Dallas Mavericks' NBA championship-clinching victory over the Miami Heat.

The Mavericks coach threw the ceremonial first pitch before the Texas Rangers game on Tuesday night. Earlier in the day, he finished watching Game 6 of the NBA Finals _ more than 10 weeks after Dallas won its first NBA championship.

“Being back in the office now, starting to watch film and so forth, it becomes more clear what a special experience that was, what a special group of guys that we had,” Carlisle said. “It’s the first time I’ve sat down and watched it in detail. It was such a great series, such an intriguing series and the level of basketball was so high and so pure. It was an unforgettable 14 days.”

Carlisle said there were a lot of things that he hadn’t remembered from that June 12 clinching game, some of the special plays made by both teams.


Because of the NBA lockout, which makes the timing of the 2011-12 season uncertain, Carlisle was unable to talk about how the Mavericks plan to try to defend their title. The coach several times said he was unable to answer questions specifically about the team.

“I can talk about my staunch support for the Rangers, my appreciation for being here,” he said. “I got Nolan Ryan’s autograph on a ball, so I’m pretty stoked about that.”

Wearing a No. 34 Rangers jersey, Carlisle threw a strike with a slight break that was caught by Texas manager Ron Washington before the game against the Boston Red Sox.

“It was a bit of a hybrid, I don’t exactly have a name for it but it’s the only pitch I throw,” said Carlisle, who prepped for the moment by throwing tennis balls against the wall in the Mavericks' locker room earlier Tuesday.

Since he lives in the Dallas area, Carlisle said he follows the Rangers, Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Stars. He has a much longer connection to the Red Sox, since he was an NBA player in three seasons in Boston and was part of the Celtics’ 1986 NBA championship.

“There’s a long history. … I have been a Red Sox fan over the years because of that association,” Carlisle said. “When you live in Dallas, you’re a Dallas sports fan.”

Earlier this summer, Mavericks players Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry threw first pitches at separate Rangers games. Both threw high pitches.