Excellent article by John Hollinger on Rick Carlisle’s superb coaching performance in the 2011 NBA Finals.
The Dallas Mavericks won their first-ever championship for a lot of different reasons, most of which rhyme with the word “Birk.” But in a playoffs in which the difference between winning and losing was razor-thin, at the margin a key difference was that their brain trust was consistently a step ahead of the competition.
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle’s shift to J.J. Barea as a starter for Game 4 is the most obvious example — the Mavs won the final three games with the diminutive speedster in the lineup, an achievement that hardly seemed preordained given that he was shooting 5-for-23 at the time. But on countless other subtle moves — from rest to zones to his use of role players — Carlisle was pitch perfect.
Edit: Another excellent article on Rick Carlisle’s game four adjustments – link