P.J. Carlesimo’s wide-ranging interview on WFAN: Playoffs, D-Will, his coaching future, and more

P.J. Carlesimo
P.J. Carlesimo (AP)

P.J. Carlesimo
P.J. Carlesimo (AP)
Brooklyn Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo joined “Beningo and Roberts in the Midday” on WFAN 660 AM/101.9 FM this afternoon. It was the first time Carlesimo appeared on the show, hosted by Nets season ticket holder Evan Roberts and Knicks fan Joe Beningo. The Brooklyn bench boss covered a range of topics from the healing power of basketball to Deron Williams resurgence and potential playoff match-ups.

After a few opening moments of jocularity about the Knicks/Nets rivalry, things took a turn for the serious when Roberts thanked Carlesimo for last night’s Nets/Wizards game given current events.  “It was a great distraction,” said Roberts. “Obviously the real world stinks right now with everything going on in Boston.”

Carlesimo assured the radio duo that the game was as healing for the team as much as it was for the fans.  “It was all that was on in the locker room, before the game, after the game. It’s really hard to think about something else… You get to focus on something else. (The bombing) is a horrible thing.”

Roberts then asked if the Nets big win in Indiana last Friday was a good final test for the playoffs. Carlesimo responded after first bringing the conversation back to Boston:

 “Without question. We thought both of the games (last week were). Not that Boston didn’t try, but K.G. was rusty because it was his first game back; we didn’t see a top Boston. We took it to them. We were just more aggressive. It’s funny, our four Boston games kind of all went that way. The three that we won, we were clearly the more aggressive team, the team that was more ready to play, and we won the three games. And the Christmas game, they took it to us.

Indiana was more: they were still playing for a second seed at the time, it’s at their building, we’ve beaten them twice, so you know they don’t like that. So clearly that was the one, of all the practices and games we have left before the playoffs, this was the best possible preparation we can ask for. So to go in and to play the way we played, and as you said, it’s hard when you lose the lead on the road and everything’s going upside down to kind of dig your heels in. To play with virtually no composure in the third quarter and then in the last six minutes of the game to play with really good composure was really good for us.”

Beningo broached the subject of Deron Williams, asking the Nets coach why D-Will has played so much better in the second half of the season. Carlesimo quickly responded, “It is the health. It is almost as simple as that.”  
Carlesimo would go on to explain that Deron’s experience in the Olympics, coupled with his work ethic after getting back, caused the franchise point guard to play with constant pain in his ankles and wrists. “He’s been going almost full bore since June and it was too much.”

The Nets coach credited the rest afforded by trainer Tim Walsh’s decision to shut down Deron for the final two games before the All-Star Break, along with the “blood-platelet treatment, or whatever it’s called, I’m sure I’m saying it wrong” for Deron being able to play “relatively pain-free” in the second half.

“Secondly,” continued Carlesimo, “he’s knocking down his three. And I’m sure a lot of that is the explosion, the getting off the ground.  The wrist feeling better. He’s impossible to play when he’s making his three. There’s nothing you can do. When he’s not making his three, people are going to play off him a little bit more, then it’s a little bit harder for him to penetrate and do all the other things he does. When the first thing on your report is he’s shooting over 40% from three and he’s taking a lot of them, you have to pick him up high and now you’re really behind the 8-ball.”