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Rick Carlisle had Mavericks pack for only Game 6 of finals

Nov 4, 2011, 8:59 AM EDT

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game Six Getty Images

Rick Carlisle pulled a trick out of the Miami Heat’s Pat Riley’s playbook to win the NBA finals.

Back in 2006, the Miami Heat were up 3-2 and heading back for a Game 6 in Dallas. Then Heat coach Riley told his players to only pack enough clothes for one game’s stay — they were not going to be hanging around for a Game 7. It worked, the Heat got the ring.

In 2011 the role was reversed — Dallas was up 3-2 and headed back to Miami. And Mavs coach Carlisle pulled the same trick having his team only pack enough clothes for one game, reports Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register. The strategy is two-for-two so far.

How did Carlisle hear of Riley’s trick? Self-improvement guru Tony Robbins told him. The story came out at a Robbins seminar in Los Angeles this week that Carlisle and writer Ding (and Oprah) were attending.

Ding adds this footnote about the different personalities of the coaches. Riley went public and told the media what he did after his Game 6 win. Some members of the press had heard Carlisle had done it as well.

When asked at the time by reporters at the Finals if he’d packed for just Game 6, Carlisle had light-heartedly dodged the question, saying: “I’ve got a lot of respect for all of you. I feel like I’ve gotten to know you well. But I don’t believe at this point I’m ready to share the number of pairs of underwear I packed.”

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