Brooklyn Nets: P.J. Carlesimo

P.J. on Avery Johnson's firing, Part 1

May, 23, 2013
P.J. Carlesimo wasn’t happy when the Brooklyn Nets fired Avery Johnson in late December.

And Carlesimo, who took over for Johnson on an interim basis only to not be retained after going 35-19 during the regular season, still isn’t happy with their decision now.

In the end, according to Carlesimo, expectations for the team were too high and unrealistic.

"Well, I think it made it difficult to keep the job more so for Avery, because Avery was brought in, and he did the dirty work," Carlesimo, now an ESPN analyst, said during a Thursday conference call, according to Newsday.

"You got the two years of getting your head knocked off while they were getting the roster together and getting the salary cap right and all that. Then when the team had a very representative team to put out there and you had all the great things that we all enjoyed this year in Brooklyn, he didn’t get a chance to reap the benefits of those two years, which was unfortunate.

"For me, it’s disappointing only because it's such a good job. I think you know how I feel about it. There are only 30 jobs in this league, but there are a handful that are better than others, and I think Brooklyn is one of those jobs because it’s a team that’s got a chance to win every night. I’ve had very good jobs, and I’ve been as a head coach and an assistant coach obviously when I was in San Antonio in particular, we had a chance to win the whole thing."

The Nets invested approximately $330 million in current and future contracts in the offseason to upgrade their roster after going 46-102 in their first two seasons with Johnson at the helm. Expectations were high, and Johnson, who was in the final year of his contract, was fired after the team got off to a 14-14 start. Brooklyn’s season ultimately ended with a first-round ouster at the hands of the Chicago Bulls.

The Nets are very early in the process of trying to fill their head-coaching vacancy now.

"When you have a job in this league that you have a chance to win every night, that's very special, and Brooklyn is one of those jobs," Carlesimo said.

"Having said that, the expectations to win a championship in two years, that's a heavy load for anybody, not just for Brooklyn. I don't know if that's realistic the way the roster is right now. I would not say that team could not win a championship. We thought we could this year if things broke a little better for us.

"But if you have that on your plate, that you need to win a championship in two years, I think it makes it a little challenging. ... But I still would not call them one of the favorites. I wouldn’t put that on whoever is lucky enough to get the job. I think it's a team that could win a lot of games. I think it's a 50-win team, a playoff team and a team that could do well, particularly in the Eastern Conference. But to win a championship is a bear. Those 16 wins are hard to come by at the end of the year, but the Spurs have 10 of them right now, Miami's got nine. It's hard to get to 16.

"I still do think it's a good job. I think the expectations are maybe not totally realistic, but you'd rather have that from your owner and you know he's got the wherewithal to back it up.

Nets part with P.J., will call Phil Jackson

May, 5, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Brooklyn Nets announced Sunday they will not offer a new contract to interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo, and that "a search for a new head coach will commence immediately."

"The Brooklyn Nets organization would like to thank P.J. for his efforts with the team in his roles as both head coach and assistant, and for his contributions to the team's success both on and off the court," general manager Billy King said in a news release issued the day after the Chicago Bulls eliminated the Nets in Game 7 of their first-round series.

King would not rule out Phil Jackson for the coaching vacancy and said he plans to call Jackson to gauge his level of interest.

The Nets, in their first season in Brooklyn, finished second in the Atlantic Division and were the No. 4 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.

Carlesimo had been promoted in December when the team fired Avery Johnson after a 14-14 start to the season, but was never hired as the permanent coach.

"We wish P.J. and his family only the best in the years to come," King said in the statement.

P.J. looking for first playoff series win

May, 3, 2013
P.J. Carlesimo has never won a playoff series before as a head coach.

So what would it mean to the Brooklyn Nets interim coach to get a victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals?

“It would mean we’ve got to pack Sunday morning, get on a plane, do a quick turnaround and get ready for a really, really good opponent,” Carlesimo said Friday.

Carlesimo, who went 35-19 during the regular season after replacing Avery Johnson, has never been a head coach for a Game 7 either.

“Hopefully I’ll respond well, but fortunately I don’t have to play,” Carlesimo said. “I think the guys that are playing are going to handle it well, and that’s the important thing. We’ll be fine.”

Five of Carlesimo’s players have Game 7 experience: Joe Johnson (2-1), Jerry Stackhouse (2-1), Gerald Wallace (0-3), Deron Williams (1-0) and Reggie Evans (1-0).

“I don’t think Game 7 experience is going to be the defining reason for (who wins) tomorrow’s game,” Carlesimo said. “As is usually the case, the players are going to decide it, some guys are gonna step up and one team is going to play a little bit better than the other team, and that’s going to decide the game.”

Carlesimo wants all his players to be “relaxed and confident” when they take the court.

He believes his team has established the identity many believe its been missing all season.

“I think we’ve found it more and more as the year’s gone on, and I think that’s a natural thing,” Carlesimo said. “It’s the first time this group has been together. There’s not great continuity on this team even from the last couple years. Hopefully there will be going forward, but I do think now we’re 88 games into the regular season and the playoffs, and I think clearly there’s a collective persona with those 15 guys. And I do think it is the Brooklyn Nets, not a collection of individuals.”

Even though Johnson (foot) and Andray Blatche (calf) are banged up and Reggie Evans wasn’t feeling well going into Game 6, Carlesimo said he expects all of his players to be able to go on Saturday night.

The Bulls, on the other hand, may once again be short-handed. According to ESPN’s Nick Friedell, Luol Deng (flu) was hospitalized Friday and is doubtful for Game 7. Kirk Hinrich (calf), who has missed the last two games of the series, is a game-time decision and will travel. Nate Robinson (flu) and Taj Gibson (flu) are feeling better, and Joakim Noah (foot) appears to be fine as well. Thibodeau has gotten no indication that Derrick Rose will play in Game 7.

The Bulls are 0-6 all-time in road Game 7s. The Nets have played just one Game 7 in franchise history -- a road loss to the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 East semis.

Carlesimo has 'ton of confidence'

May, 3, 2013
On Saturday night, the Brooklyn Nets will try to become just the ninth team in NBA history to rally back from a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-seven playoff series -- and interim coach P.J. Carlesimo believes his team can pull it off.

“I’ve got a ton of confidence in these guys,” Carlesimo said a day before the Nets take on the Chicago Bulls in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Barclays Center.

“They’ve been resilient all year. They’ve stepped up many, many times when people didn’t think we could step up. We’ve played well on the road. We’ve beaten a lot of the better teams in the league. And the reward for the way we played in the regular season is that Game 7 of the first round is in our building. So I’m just very confident our guys are going to take advantage of the opportunity and continue to do what they’ve done all year.”

The Nets have had their backs against the wall since blowing a 14-point lead with less than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of Game 4. But they staved off elimination on Monday night and Thursday night to force a decisive Game 7.

During halftime of Game 6, TNT analyst Charles Barkley said that “the Nets just play basketball, they don’t play with passion.”

“I’m really happy with our guys’ competitiveness and the fact that we’ve come back from 3-1 and the fact that we’ve won on the road,” Carlesimo said. “It’s a little hard to understand how you could think that.”

At this point, Carlesimo isn’t concerned with analysts criticizing his team.

“I don’t think we’re lacking motivation,” Carlesimo said. “I think we already have the proper motivation ourselves. Guys want to win. Right now, it’s channeled against the Bulls, if you will, but it just happens to be who we’re playing. We want to win. We believe in our abilities. We have an identity now as the Brooklyn franchise, and I think we think collectively. I think we think as the Brooklyn Nets, and I think (the players) want the Brooklyn Nets to advance, get into the next round and see what we can do. I don’t think it’s all those other factors. I just think it’s our 15 guys wanting to win for themselves and for this franchise.”

If the Nets win Saturday, they’ll get the defending champion Miami Heat in Round 2.

But Carlesimo doesn’t want his team looking ahead.

“Your reward, if you win this series, is to play the best team in the league, but that’s a great opportunity,” Carlesimo said. “It’s just if you start thinking about the next series, you’re not going to be in the next series. So I think what’s served us well so far is taking it a day at a time.

“If we don’t manufacture the same kind of desperation, the same kind of energy to match or exceed Chicago’s energy, then we’re not gonna have to worry about who’s next.”

Carlesimo: Nets will stick to game plan

May, 2, 2013
CHICAGO – The Brooklyn Nets certainly will not feel sorry for the flu-ridden Chicago Bulls, and they also will not change strategy with the possibility of adjustments from their opponent.

So even though Luol Deng, Taj Gibson and Nate Robinson all are feeling the effects of a flu bug, the Nets will operate with the game plan they have prepared. Not only that, but Kirk Hinrich is out for the second consecutive game with a calf injury.

The official lineup handed out 30 minutes before game time had Deng and Robinson in the starting lineup. Deng was later ruled out.

“We feature the same guys; it’s not that we will go more at a particular matchup,” interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. “It’s no secret. They know who we’re going to go to and we have a decent idea who they’re going to go to. The players who are on the floor will decide the game.”

Because the Bulls have been known to react like a cornered wild animal and put up a formidable attack when they have been shorthanded, the Nets plan to have heightened awareness.

“I think they’re a deep team,” Carlesimo said. “I think they’re very well coached and frankly they’ve been dealing with this the whole year. This has been like a medevac unit the whole year, starting with their franchise player [Derrick Rose] not playing.

“It seems like every time we play them it’s a slightly different roster. But it also hasn’t mattered. They’ve been dealing with them all year and particularly in this building it’s not going to change the game. The game’s not going to get any easier. It will be a war and hopefully we can find a way to get one more point.”

BOOZER WATCH: The Nets found a way to cut Carlos Boozer’s shot attempts in half in Game 5, but they don’t expect that trend to continue. As one of the few Bulls players feeling 100 percent healthy, Boozer figures to be a big part of the offense.

What was the key defending Boozer in Game 5, when he was held to just eight field goal attempts and 10 points?

“I didn’t have the feeling that we locked him up or we denied him the ball or anything like that,” Carlesimo said. “They were getting good shots. It wasn’t like they weren’t getting good shots. It was a one-point game late in the game. So I just think it was the way the game flowed. I would be fairly comfortable predicting he will get more than eight shots tonight.”

PACE SETTERS: Getting out in transition has been the Nets’ strategy the entire series and with the chance to expose some Bulls players that are fighting illness, that plan is even more vital in Game 6.

“That’s what we’ve been trying to do anyhow,” Carlesimo said. “We’re also to the point where it’s getting to be the end of the marathon. We want to play (that way) but we’re also fatiguing ourselves a little bit. But still it’s the way we want to play and if it becomes a war of attrition hopefully there is a slight advantage to us.”

Carlesimo focused on Game 5, not future

April, 29, 2013
Despite the uncertainty surrounding his future, Brooklyn Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo isn’t thinking about his job status heading into Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

“When the games come as quickly as they come, it’s very easy now to be tunneled in,” Carlesimo said Monday night. “Our message going into the locker room coming off the floor Saturday was ‘Monday night.’ It was an easy message. By the time we got back Saturday night, we saw most of the tape on the plane and you get back and you get focused for tonight. It’s such a quick turnaround and hopefully if we can get some wins, it’s going to be the same.

“If you’re thinking about anything else other than the next game now, you’re wasting time.”

The Nets need to win three games in a row to advance into Round 2.

Carlesimo’s future with the Nets, sources told, likely hinges on how far his team goes in the playoffs.

He went 35-19 during the regular season after replacing Avery Johnson.

Carlesimo defends Johnson against critics

April, 28, 2013
Brooklyn Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo thinks Joe Johnson’s critics have no idea what they’re talking about.

Responding to a question during a Sunday conference call about how critics think Johnson is too reliant on isolation plays, settles for too many jumpers and isn’t worthy of his max contract, Carlesimo replied, “It’s hard to be polite and answer the question. ‘Critic’ is such an ambiguous term. I would call them uniformed or basketball unintelligent. Everybody’s entitled to their opinion. It would be hard for me to think that there was an intelligent basketball person making a statement like that about Joe Johnson.”

Johnson, battling through plantar fasciitis in his left foot, had a pair of eight-foot jumpers in the final 11.8 seconds of the first overtime in Game 4 -- one of them at the buzzer -- to send the contest into a second OT. In the regular season, in games where the Nets were tied or trailing by three points or fewer with less than a minute remaining, Johnson went 9-for-10 from the field. His nine buckets in such situations led the NBA.

“It would be scary to think what this year would’ve been like without Joe Johnson,” Carlesimo said.

Johnson, who had 22 points in 48 minutes in Game 4, is averaging 17.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game during the team’s first-round series against the Chicago Bulls.

P.J.: Nets can still win this series

April, 28, 2013

Only eight teams in NBA history have rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-7 playoff series.

Brooklyn Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo believes that his team can be the ninth.

"We've been resilient all year," Carlesimo said during a Sunday conference call. "We know it should be 2-2. But it's not, it's 3-1, and that's our fault and we've got to deal with it. But we know how close it was to being 2-2 and a totally different scenario."

The Nets had a 14-point lead with less than three minutes remaining in Game 4. Then they had an epic meltdown and lost in three overtimes. Now they'll have to win the remaining three games of the series to stave off elimination and advance to Round 2.

[+] EnlargeP.J. Carlesimo and Gerald Wallace
Rob Grabowski/USA TODAY SportsP.J. Carlesimo, shown here with Gerald Wallace, doesn't want his team to dwell on Game 4.
"We have to move away from the disappointment and channel it, whether it becomes anger or resolve or whatever it is," Carlesimo said. "We can't focus on Saturday. We've got to focus on Monday.

"We've got to be ready tomorrow night at 7 o'clock and we've got a one-game season. It's as simple as that."

At this point, it literally is win or go home.

"And I think we'll respond to that," Carlesimo said. "I don't think it's difficult for our guys to feel we're capable of [coming back]. I think they feel we can beat the Bulls. Have we done it enough? No, we haven't done it enough. But they know we can do it. They know that this game is in Brooklyn and I do think they'll bounce back and I do think [winning this series] is doable. But we're not talking about anything but [Monday night]."

In Saturday's 142-134 heartbreaker, Deron Williams (58), Brook Lopez (51), Reggie Evans (50), Gerald Wallace (48) and Joe Johnson (48) all logged a ton of minutes.

"We're dinged up," Carlesimo said. "All we did today is treatment. There's about six or seven guys here right now. I think everybody's sore. I'm sure Chicago is sore also. I think guys are not gonna be 100 percent tomorrow, and we may have to play some other people a few more minutes than we normally would.

"It'll depend how the game goes when the timeouts come and what kind of game it is. But at this point right now, I don't think anybody is injured to the extent that they won't play tomorrow."

Will Carlesimo show his players video of their collapse?

"I think tomorrow is about being positive and it's really important for us to look ahead and not backwards," he said, adding that he might show parts of the final three minutes, but only as teaching points.

"There will be enough motivation where they're not going to forget about what happened on Saturday, but I think we need to dwell on Monday and not Saturday."

WHERE'S BOGANS? Keith Bogans has not played yet in the series. Carlesimo said it was a difficult decision, but felt like with the rotation shortened, MarShon Brooks would be better served to get occasional minutes because of his offensive ability.

BROOK BRINGS IT: Brook Lopez is averaging 22.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.3 blocks during the series, while shooting 47.7 percent from the field and 90 percent from the free-throw line.

P.J. says he has addressed Wallace issue

April, 27, 2013
CHICAGO – Brooklyn Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo said before Game 4 of the first-round matchup with the Chicago Bulls that he hasn't read Friday's comments from a disappointed Gerald Wallace, but that the issue has still been addressed.

"I didn't see [Wallace's comments] to be honest with you, but I've talked to Gerald and hopefully we've done a better job of letting Gerald know the things that are important for him to do to help us be successful," Carlesimo said.

Whether he was actually aware of the comments or not, the veteran coach didn't seem like he wanted to build on a controversy with the Nets in need of a victory in the first-round series.

On Friday at practice in downtown Chicago, Wallace vented over playing time, especially in the fourth quarter of the team's consecutive defeats.

"I couldn't tell you my role," Wallace told reporters. "I don't have a clue what my role is on this team."

Wallace didn't play a single minute in the fourth quarter of Thursday night's Game 3 defeat to the Bulls.

JOE IS A GO: Joe Johnson was less of a question for Game 4 on Saturday than he was before Game 3. Johnson has been dealing with plantar fasciitis in his left foot and was questionable for Friday's game, but ended up playing 40 minutes.

"He'll go out and see what it feels like, but we're expecting him to play," Carlesimo said.

That was much different than before Game 3, when Carlesimo said he still wasn't sure of Johnson's status about an hour before game time.

ANGER IS A GIFT: The Nets don't seem to be using the memory of a strong Game 1 to get them going, but instead are using the fuel of two consecutive defeats to move forward.

Carlesimo was asked about the mood of his team.

"I would say a little bit agitated," Carlesimo said. "They understand it's the biggest game. Each succeeding playoff game usually is, but it's the biggest game we played all year. We're 3½ hours from 2-2 and a best-of-3 series with two in our building. They understand what they need to do."

Nets hope road success travels to Chicago

April, 24, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Brooklyn Nets won a franchise-record 23 road games this season. And they’re hoping that success away from Barclays Center will carry into the playoffs.

The Nets, who had their first winning season on the road in franchise history, will take on the Chicago Bulls in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Thursday night at United Center.

“Just being poised on the road, being confident,” Joe Johnson replied when asked why the Nets have been so successful away from home. “We understand that if you wanna be a good team in this league, at some point, you have to go out on the road and win games.

“It just kind of is what it is, so it’s definitely going to be a challenge for us and I’m sure guys are going to be prepared for it.”

“I don’t think we’re bothered [by playing on the road],” interim coach P.J. Carlesimo added. “Maybe because we have a veteran team, I don’t know. ... Some teams it’s almost better when it’s a real hostile environment. Sometimes that motivates you a little bit. Maybe it helps our focus. Maybe going in on the road, particularly against good teams, guys know that maybe they’ve got to tighten their focus. I’m really not sure what it is, but for whatever reason we’re a really good road team and we need for that continue.”

The Nets have had plenty of memorable road victories in 2012-13. There was the Skirmish in Boston, Johnson’s go-ahead jumper at MSG, Deron Williams’ triumph in Dallas and two gutsy wins over Indiana. But the one that really stands out is their 110-93 victory on Jan. 2 in Oklahoma City.

It was just their fourth game under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo and they were coming off a 31-point loss in San Antonio on New Year’s Eve.

“It kind of got us going and got us started,” D-Will said. “That’s probably the one I’d circle.”

“I think it was big for us as a team, especially with (just) losing our head coach,” C.J. Watson added. “I think our team chemistry came together in that game.”

The Nets worked so hard to secure homecourt advantage in the first round, but lost it when the Bulls won Game 2 on Monday and evened the best-of-7 series at a game apiece.

“It’s going to be a hostile environment and it should be fun,” Williams said. “This is what the playoffs are all about. They came into our building and beat us, and now we have to try and return the favor.”

They can’t afford not to.

“We obviously got to get at least one,” Johnson said. “We gave away our home court now and we’ve got to get that back by winning at least one in Chicago.”

P.J. to Nets: Get physical vs. Bulls

April, 23, 2013
Interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said the Nets didn't match Chicago's physicality during their Game 2 loss. The Bulls outrebounded Brooklyn 44-39 and the Nets went just 15-for-36 in the paint.

"We didn't handle it as well as we need to," Carlesimo said during a Tuesday conference call. "Matching or exceeding their physicality is always one of the things we talk about and one of the keys when you play the Bulls. We did a better job of doing that in Game 1 than we did in Game 2."

[+] EnlargeP.J. Carlesimo
Debby Wong/USA TODAY SportsP.J. Carlesimo is calling for the Nets to match the Bulls' physical play.
Unlike Game 1, the Nets were unable to push the tempo like they wanted to in Game 2.

"They put the ball in the basket and did a better job getting to the free-throw line, made us take it out of bounds more and got offensive boards," Carlesimo said. "If we can defend really well, limit them to one shot and get out and go, that's significant.

"But we gave up 90 points and we let them outrebound us by five. We had more turnovers (12), which led to 16 points, and all those things collectively took away from some of the opportunities we had."

As for the adjustments the Nets need to make going into Thursday night's Game 3?

"I still think a lot of it has to do with the defensive end. We need to get more stops and do a better job on the boards [and] opening up more transition opportunities for us," Carlesimo said. "But clearly in the halfcourt, we need to execute a lot better. Whether that be screening or moving of the ball, we gotta make shots. We can't shoot what we shot from 3. ... And clearly we can't play a quarter like the third quarter. We just dug too big a hole to come back out of."

The Nets shot 4-for-21 from 3-point range on Monday night. During the third quarter, they shot 2-for-19 and were outscored 22-11.

The Nets, who won a franchise-record 23 road games this season, now head to Chicago.

"I like playing them in Barclays [Center] more than I like playing them in the United Center," Carlesimo said. "But I do think we're comfortable playing on the road, and it's not going to be about the building, it's going to be about [playing] the guys in the white uniforms.

"The next game is always the most important game of the year. It's not a cliche, not an overstatement. It's the most important game we'll play all year."

Carlesimo was asked how difficult it is to handle the swings from one game to another with his future uncertain. In Game 1, he was applauded. In Game 2, the feeling was that he got outcoached by Chicago's Tom Thibodeau.

"It's easy. [I] don't read about it. Hopefully [I] don't have to talk about it, and even when you have to talk about it, it doesn't affect what we do," Carlesimo said.

"I hope I'm trying to work as hard as I can. I know our staff is. So it's just a way of looking at it. I've been doing it for a long time, and ... it's usually the same people saying one thing one day and then something different the next day. You can't control that."

Carlesimo: Williams will 'bounce back'

April, 23, 2013

Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams vowed Monday night that he won’t have another bad game this postseason.

His interim coach is certainly a believer.

“He’ll bounce back (in Game 3) because he’s an excellent player,” P.J. Carlesimo said during a Tuesday conference call.

Williams went 1-for-9 from the field and scored just eight points in Brooklyn’s 90-82 Game 2 loss to the Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center.

The best-of-7 Eastern Conference quarterfinals series is now tied at 1. Game 3 is Thursday night at United Center.

Williams had 22 points, seven assists, three steals and one two-handed reverse dunk in his team’s 106-89 victory in Game 1 Saturday night. But the Bulls turned up their defense intensity on the 28-year-old franchise player two nights later, and D-Will wasn’t able to be his usual dominant, post All-Star break self as a result.

“I didn’t play good. I’m not going to play like this again,” Williams said.

“He’s been on a great run and they did a good job getting two people to him an awful lot of the time,” Carlesimo said. “And when he penetrated, they did a good job contesting his shot. He wasn’t able to finish at the rim quite as effectively.

“But a lot of it was he took a couple 3s late too, so it is what it is. And you know Deron said he missed shots and had an off game. He’s gotta play better, of course he does, but he’s gonna be fine. He also had 10 assists and only two turnovers, and defended well ... You’ve gotta put Deron in better situations and better play calls than we did.”

Carlesimo said Williams is still in charge of most of the play calling, as he was during the regular season.

“I think he has a good sense of [calling plays], and I think it’s always a back-and-forth with us,” Carlesimo said. “In the timeouts [the coaching staff is] normally going to call something, and when we’re going in the flow and when we’re effective, we just let it go, and Deron makes a real high percentage of the calls."

“We’ll talk any time there’s a dead ball when it’s appropriate, but for the most part, he’s gonna make the calls. When it’s a night when we’re struggling, then it is more of a challenge, but I don’t think it’ll be any different [in Game 3] and I don’t think it’s an adjustment. We’ll watch the tape. We’ll talk to him about what we see. We’ve got two days to go, but he’s way above-average in terms of his feel for what’s working, what’s not working, who needs to be more involved, who hasn’t had a shot in a while, who’s got a favorable matchup. Some point guards are very comfortable with doing that, and he’s way above-average in terms of what he sees on the floor and getting us into the sets we need to be in.”

As for D-Will’s harsh critique of his play, Carlesimo said, “I just think our guys all year have not been excuse guys. When we didn’t play as well or play as well as we’re capable of playing, we know it’s on us. And I think Deron sets the tone that way.

“If anything, he’s too hard on himself. But I would much rather that kind of attitude. I think our guys all feel that we let ourselves down. We didn’t play as well as we’re capable of playing, but give the Bulls some credit for that. We have to [be better] collectively. The coaches have to do a better job, the players have to do a better job and we’ve gotta find a way to get some wins.”

Pregame notes: Nets play 'no respect' card

April, 20, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Brooklyn Nets won 49 games this season and have home-court advantage in the first-round of the playoffs.

And yet ...

“As good a year as we’ve had, I still think we’re fighting for respect,” interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. “And that respect will come [if we advance].”

The fourth-seeded Nets open up their series with the fifth-seeded Chicago Bulls on Saturday night in Game 1 at Barclays Center. The Bulls will be without Derrick Rose and possibly Joakim Noah, too. Noah is a game-time decision. The Nets, on the other hand, are the healthiest they’ve been in a while.

And yet ...

“I think even though we have the fourth seed, I think a lot of people are picking the Bulls,” Deron Williams said. “But we wanna win the series. We feel like we can win the series if we play basketball the way we’re capable of playing.

“I think we’ve got a chip on our shoulder just because how the year has been, the ups and downs we’ve had, the setbacks here and there. We’re excited. We’re excited about this opportunity. We’re ready to go.”

Williams hasn’t played a playoff game since May 10, 2010.

“It feels like a long time. But it’s fresh,” he said. “I definitely remember the last series I had.”

No Net on the current roster has ever won an NBA title before.

“If you don’t have a championship under your belt, you have that hunger to win one, at least if you’re a competitor I think,” Williams said.

Joe Johnson has never gotten out of the second round in his career.

“I’m driven from the fact I’m in a new situation with some great teammates,” Johnson said. “I think the sky’s the limit for us honestly. We have some great pieces on this team.

“We don’t really care about the naysayers. We’re just gonna come out and try to handle our business the way we know how.”

Some interesting notes from Elias ...

• Game 1 marks Carlesimo’s first playoff appearance as a head coach since 1997. Of the 469 players who appeared in at least one game during the 2012-13 season, only 13 came into the league prior to that last appearance. Jerry Stackhouse was one of them.

Reggie Evans averaged 21.7 rebounds per 48 minutes played during the regular season. Over the last 38 seasons, only one other player has averaged that many rebounds per 48 minutes while playing at least 1,500 minutes in a season: Dennis Rodman, who did it six times in the 1990s.

• The Nets were only 15-27 (.357) against teams that finished the season with a . 500 or better winning percentage. That was tied with Atlanta for the worst record in those games among the 16 teams that are competing in the 2013 playoffs.

P.J. likely to go with nine-man rotation

April, 18, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brooklyn Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said that his playoff rotation “will probably be more nine (guys) than 10.”

“We’ll see,” Carlesimo added after Thursday’s practice.

Just speculating here, but if Carlesimo does opt to go with a nine-man rotation, it would be the starters (Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Reggie Evans and Brook Lopez) along with Andray Blatche, C.J. Watson, Kris Humphries and one of either Keith Bogans or Jerry Stackhouse.

One would think MarShon Brooks may also get a shot at some playing time during the team’s first-round series with the Chicago Bulls, which kicks off Saturday night at Barclays Center.

Carlesimo said ultimately it’ll all depend on how certain guys do. Regardless, it’s something to keep an eye on.

• Reggie Evans said he re-injured his shoulder in Wednesday night’s victory over Detroit.

“(My shoulder) was getting better, but I kind of got hit last night,” said Evans, who originally hurt it in Portland. "But I’m gonna always get hit because of the style I play, and Detroit they’re a physical team.”

Just don’t expect Evans to have to sit out as a result.

“You know what, it is what it is. I can’t make no excuses. I gotta hoop. It’s do or die. I’ve got the summer to relax,” Evans said. “I’m not gonna ask for no sub. I’m just gonna find a way to work around it. I can’t let myself down or my teammates down by worrying about something like that.”

Evans had a good quote on All-Star center Brook Lopez: “Brook is a whole different person right now. Can’t nobody stop him. The only person that can stop Brook is Brook.”

• The Nets will be handing out free black t-shirts to their fans at Game 1 as part of their “Blackout in Brooklyn” initiative.

“I don’t know if I’m sold on it yet,” Deron Williams joked. “I don’t know if everybody’s gonna comply with that one. In our stands they want to look cool, so I don’t know if they’re gonna go for the all black.”

The Nets have put in a request with the league to wear black uniforms at home, to go with the whole theme.

“That’s cool with me,” D-Will said.

Carlesimo on Bulls: 'Helluva challenge'

April, 17, 2013
The Brooklyn Nets have a huge banner hanging in their practice facility that reads, "It’s Our Time."

After wrapping up a 49-win regular season on Wednesday night with a 103-99 victory over the Detroit Pistons, the Nets will have a chance to prove it’s their time in the playoffs.

[+] EnlargeGerald Wallace, Rodney Stuckey
AP Photo/Kathy KmonicekThe Nets soared over the Pistons and will face the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs.
The fourth-seeded Nets, who qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2006-07, will open up their first-round series with the fifth-seeded Chicago Bulls on Saturday.

"They’re an excellent team. They beat us three out of four [in the regular season],” said Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, who ended up going 35-19 after taking over for Avery Johnson. "They’re experienced. They’re an excellent defensive team and an excellent rebounding team. It’ll be a helluva challenge."

Prior to the start of the season, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who allowed GM Billy King and assistant GM Bobby Marks to acquire $330 million in contracts to upgrade the roster, said a successful first season in Brooklyn would be defined by possibly a trip to the Eastern Conference finals.

They’ll have to go through the gauntlet to get there. And it all starts with Chicago.

Despite not having superstar Derrick Rose the entire season, the Bulls managed to amass 45 wins under coach Tom Thibodeau. Chicago is one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, and thrives by playing a grind-it-out, halfcourt style.

"It’s definitely going to be a tough series," Joe Johnson said. "They’re a hard-nosed team, a blue-collar team, hard-working, great defensive team. So we’ve gotta be on our P's and Q's, man, hitting on all cylinders, because in the playoffs, you can’t take a possession off."

The Bulls have a talented frontcourt, featuring the likes of Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Taj Gibson. And there’s always the remote possibility that they add Rose to that mix.

"His situation’s tough," Deron Williams replied when asked about Rose, who had knee surgery on May 12. "He hasn’t played all season, and I think Nate [Robinson] and Kirk [Hinrich] have been doing a good job at the point for them, so it’s all about timing and rhythm and confidence so it’s tough for him right now. But Derrick Rose is a former MVP, so you have to think if he plays, he’s gonna help their team."

The Nets believe they have a great chance of getting past the Bulls because their top three players -- Johnson, Williams and Brook Lopez -- are all healthy and playing well, and they seem to be peaking at the right time.

"This is the first time in a long time we’ve had everybody at full strength," said Williams, who averaged 22.9 points and 8.0 assists after the All-Star break. "We’re definitely excited about that and feel confident that when we’re playing at our highest level, we’re tough to beat."

Johnson reiterated what he feels would define a successful season for the Nets.

"Obviously a championship," he said. "If you don’t win that gold ball, it wasn’t successful. So like I said, we’re gonna take it one series at a time, one game at a time and try to have fun with it."



Brook Lopez
20.7 0.9 0.5 31.4
ReboundsK. Garnett 6.6
AssistsD. Williams 6.1
StealsD. Williams 1.5
BlocksB. Lopez 1.8