Carlisle's Mavericks had fallen into a 101-87 hole to the Houston Rockets after three quarters. The biggest reason for the deficit? Dallas couldn't stop Dwight Howard. The big man tallied 27 points on 11-of-11 shooting over the first 36 minutes.
ESPN reporter Chris Broussard did what he gets paid to do. He crafted a pair of questions for the in-game interview based off what he'd seen.
Carlisle, no doubt anxious to get back to his team, found some inspiration for his answers—Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
"Coach, Dwight Howard obviously has it going inside," Broussard said. "Will you consider double-teamining him in the fourth?"
"Yes," Carlisle fired back, fighting a smile in the process.
"Does it make it, the fact that they shoot so well from the three, does that make it tough to make that decision to go ahead and do that?" Broussard asked.
"Yes," Carlisle replied. "That's my Popovich impersonation."
Apparently, the Dallas coach was just saving his words for his team. After Carlisle went full-on Pop, the Mavericks responded with a 36-19 fourth-quarter edge to cap an incredible 123-120 comeback victory.
Broussard took the whole thing in stride and even found a way to appreciate what had happened:
I got Popovich'd by Rick Carlisle. Lol— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) November 21, 2013
Then again, perhaps the sideline reporter did this to himself. "Never ask a 'yes or no' question...golden rule of interviewing," SI.com's Ben Golliver wrote.
The exchange was fun, albeit shorter than the network had hoped it would be.
The surprise factor made this as enjoyable as it was. Popovich has monopolized the snark market in sideline interviews; it's one Spurs' trademark that other teams shouldn't look to copy.
In-game exchanges don't often shed much light on the game, but there's something to be said for coaches at least entertaining the process.
Popovich can lob these one-word responses. Carlisle, for one night, gets a free pass.
Let's hope this doesn't become a trend. The NBA isn't big enough for more than one Pop.