But it's a good way to describe the "chicken-or-egg'' issue that's helped to drive Dallas to 12 consecutive wins. The Mavs believe … and they have a "Chemistry Vibe.'' As we approach tonight's home game against the Bucks, we provide Eight Mavs "Chemistry Vibe'' Examples:
Chemistry Vibe 1: So it's Saturday night against Utah. And Jason Terry is stinkin' up the joint. If there was ever a night to assume that Jet was temporarily short on fuel …
But no. Rick Carlisle sticks with his customary combo of Dirk and Jet as the late-game go-to guys, and as usual, it works.
Said Jet: "I give coach Carlisle a lot of credit. When he easily could have gone with somebody else, he stayed confident in me."
Said Rick: "The stuff that we do down the stretch in games, Jet is just so important to it. And I believe in him. I just believe in the guy."
Worth noting: It's not just Jet who benefits from this trust. As J.J. Barea, who continues to hear barking in his ear from the coach, who is insisting he shoot whenever open. That strategy is not paying off statistically (JJB still can't shoot a lick from the arc), but it will pay off in confidence. And it is paying off in trust.
Carlisle is demonstrating that he's an advocate for players like Terry and Barea, even when things aren't going well … insisting in expressing the view that they will eventually.
Because he "just believes in the guy(s).''
Chemistry Vibe 2: A recent quote from newcomer Tyson Chandler:
"This team is like my second family. These are my brothers.''
Chemistry Vibe 3: Why is DeShawn Stevenson a starter?
In part because the three most decorated veteran Mavs – Dirk, Jet and Kidd – suggested it to the coach.
When Carlisle first arrived in Dallas to take over the 2008 Mavs, we reflected on his reputation for rigidity – a reputation owned by his predecessor -- and nicknamed him "Ivory Johnson.''
That's gone now.
In early November, with the Mavs struggling to find an answer at the starting 2-guard spot, the team's leaders suggested the job be given not to J.J. Barea, but instead to the little-used Stevenson. Forget what you are reading about belief in DeShawn's defense or his improved shooting; this was all about filling a slot in the rotation totem pole (and it might still be that, pending Roddy B's return).
From there, it was up to DeShawn … and his defensive toughness has set an early tone, as has his 3-point shooting (He's at an NBA-high 53.6 percent from the arc).
Since making the move, Dallas has won 16 of 18 games.
And here's the Chemistry Vibe beauty of DeShawn's part in all this: When asked on Saturday about his improved marksmanship (Dallas beat Utah with Stevenson scoring 17), what did he say?
"I was just catch-and-shooting,'' DeShawn said. "I work a lot with Rick. …''
That's DeShawn Stevenson, reputed NBA knucklehead (and knuckleball shooter) going out of his way to credit the head coach for personal tutoring.
That's Chemistry Vibe.
Chemistry Vibe 4: Just a few days after Carlisle issued the one-game suspension of Brendan Haywood in San Antonio, the coach was asked about Haywood's demeanor.
"He's been awesome!'' Rick said.
Two days later came a win in Sacramento – and Carlisle termed Haywood "the most valuable'' Mav in the game.
It would appear that Rick Carlisle doesn't own a doghouse – or at least that it's been boarded up.
Chemistry Vibe 5: Not long ago, Jason Kidd had some friends in town for dinner. They decided to meet up at the swanky Uptown dinner club "Ocean Prime.''
Turns out, Kidd's friends are also friends of Carlisle's.
So – and I'll admit, we were a bit surprised to see this – there they were, Rick and Kidd, having dinner and drinks together at Ocean Prime.
But maybe I shouldn't be surprised.
Hasn't Rick personally traveled to Chicago to hang with Shawn Marion, to Virginia to meet with Haywood, to North Carolina to visit with Josh Howard, to New York to socialize with Kidd and even to Germany to bond with Dirk?
Chemistry Vibe 6: Carlisle's been proven right regarding Dallas' depth and "role acceptance''… and the players appreciate it.
As we reported this morning, Dirk Nowitzki remains the foundation of this deal; he is averaging 25.3 points on 58.9-percent shooting from the floor during The Streak.
But …. The UberMan has accomplished all of this with his mood-setting unselfish touch.
Over the course of these 12 games, Dirk has:
*Attempted 16 or fewer shots seven times
*Attempted 12 or fewer shots on three occasions
*Registered 33 assists, with five games of four or more
Carlisle hasn't given up his "Be Ready'' mantra. Rather, it's that roles are more defined than ever. Dirk epitomizes both approaches. In his ability to "not worry about ‘role definition' but rather ‘role acceptance' – Carlisle's stern training camp words – Nowitzki has become an extension of his coach.
By the way, Nowitzki's malleability here is fascinating. Nellie wanted him to be an offensive freak, so he became one. Avery wanted him to be able to be a facilitator, so he became one. Carlisle's asked him to be a defensive factor, so by gosh, according to assistant coaches, Dirk is experiencing by far his finest defensive season ever.
Chemistry Vibe 7: A Thanksgiving time tweet from Caron Butler:
"Outside the obvious -- God, Family, all the above -- I'm thankful for the fans, my job I love doing and playing here in Dallas. Just had a team meal and the energy we have here is second to none. Happy Turkey day.''
Chemistry Vibe 8: Last spring, in the failed first-round playoff series against San Antonio, Caron Butler and Shawn Marion felt like they were jerked in and out of the lineup unnecessarily. Marion said he was being treated like a "rag-doll.''
Their handing this season is, in effect, not dissimilar; Caron is the starter and seems to especially be fed the ball in third quarters. Shawn is the "Sixth Man 1B'' and usually gets to finish games in his role as defensive stopper.
But there IS role definition, I think.
Either way, nobody is complaining … which leads us back to the chicken-or-egg question about Dallas' "Chemistry Vibe'': Did the Mavs players "buy in'' in a way that's led to 12 straight wins and a 19-4 record? Or has the success caused the players to buy in … because after all, maybe everyone wouldn't be quite so accepting, understanding and convivial if the team was on a 12-game losing streak?
And is it some bending of Rick to the players? Or some bending of the players to Rick?
"It all goes hand-in-hand," says Mavs owner Mark Cuban. "You want to have your best pieces complement each other and the whole being greater than the sum of the parts."
Like in a band. The Chemistry Vibe Band.