Monday, January 14, 2013

Nets players see P.J. as more than 'interim' coach

The Brooklyn Nets are the NBA's only undefeated team in 2013 and, if you ask the Nets players, they think "interim" head coach P.J. Carlesimo is a big reason for their recent run.

The Nets improved to 8-1, since Carlesimo replaced Avery Johnson in late December, after they defeated the Indiana Pacers 97-86 at the Barclays Sunday.

Now, as high profile names like Phil Jackson and Stan Van Gundy have taken their names out of the running for the Nets head coaching job, some Nets players think it wouldn't be surprising if the Nets take the prefix "interim" from P.J.'s title.

"I don't know how much it matters (removing the interim tag) to P.J., but I don't look at him as an interim ," Joe Johnson told The New York Daily News.  "He's our guy right now. I have 100% faith in him.  I don't look at him as, 'He's just going to be here for a little while.'  I'm figuring he's the coach."

The Nets are even winning while Carlesimo lets point guard Deron Williams take it easy while nursing various injuries.

"Early on, I wanted to practice so much," said Williams.  "I've just been a lot smarter about it.  It's just been one of those things where either you want it in practice or you want it in games."

Carlesimo has given the team a whole new outlook this year.

"When we had that loss in San Antonio (New Year's Eve), we wanted to put that whole thing behind us," said Johnson.  "It just shows because we came into OKC (on Jan. 2) and we were a whole different team."

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