On Call, Carlesimo Looking Forward to Game Five
April 28, 2013 · 1:43 p.m.
Following Saturday's triple-overtime Game Four defeat in Chicago, Brooklyn Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo committed to looking ahead. Monday's Game Five is an elimination game, and he saw little purpose in having the players review the negatives when they were "acutely aware" of the mistakes that allowed the Bulls to tie the game in regulation.
With no practice scheduled and the series heading to Barclays Center on Monday, Carlesimo joined team reporters on a conference call to discuss the outlook as the Nets trail the Bulls, 3 games to 1.
On the emotions of losing after three overtimes:
"I think yesterday was – 'disappointment' is probably not strong enough – an extremely tough way to lose. But that’s what it is: a loss. Having the day between is good. We have to move away form the disappointment and channel it into anger or resolve or whatever else. We can’t focus on Saturday. We've got to focus on Monday, got to be ready tomorrow at 7 o'clock. We’ve got a one-game season. It’s as simple as that.
"We’re not asking them to do something we haven’t done before: we have to score, we have to rebound, we have to defend – we can do all those things. We just have to do it for 48 minutes. There are rational reasons to feel confident going into this game. We’re not talking about anything but tomrrow right now."
The Nets spoke postgame about a singular focus on Monday's Game Five, which will be played in front of a home crowd at Barclays Center. Brooklyn won the opener in spectacular fashion, but couldn't produce enough offense against the improved Chicago defense in Game Two.
After a defensive battle in Game Three, the Nets were able to score throughout much of Game Four, boosted by aggressive offense from Reggie Evans and Gerald Wallace, which helped to space the floor and create opportunities for Deron Williams (32 points, 10 assists). If Brooklyn is able to again find openings in Chicago's previously impermeable D, this time while playing in front of a home crowd, momentum could build and boost them to a victory.
On Joe Johnson's clutch play:
"If you look at the 86 games we've played, I think Joe would be up there in terms of last-second or end-of-game/-overtime plays for the year. In the history of the NBA, has somebody had a better season? Probably. But it's scary to think about what this year would've been like without Joe Johnson."
Johnson ended regulation Saturday with just 11 points, but managed to hit two of the biggest baskets in the game: a pair of game-tying floaters in the final 30 seconds of the first overtime; the second connected as time expired. This followed a regular-season in which Johnson, according to NBA.com/Stats, connected on 8-of-9 attempts with the Nets tied or behind by three points in the final 30 seconds for a league-leading 19 points. Four of those shots proved game-deciding: buzzer beaters against Detroit, Washington and Milwaukee, as well as a go-ahead dagger against the Knicks with 22.3 seconds to play. Every team knows what's coming, and still Johnson remains one of the league's most difficult isolation covers.
Why the team can come back to win:
"Because we’ve been resilient all year. Because we believe we’ve played enough very good minutes against Chicago that we know what we’re doing. We know it should be 2-2, and the line of questioning would be different, but it’s not. It’s 3-1. The mindset will be totally different tomrorrow, and if we get the job done, then it'll be totally different on Thursday. People always say, 'You win or you go home,' and this for us is an actual example of that. We feel we can beat the Bulls."
This has been a season of swings for Brooklyn, which rocketed to an 11-4 start and then experienced a rough December and eventual coaching change before righting on a gradual upward course that led to homecourt advantage in the First Round. The series against Chicago has proved a microcosm, and though the historical numbers weigh heavily (only three NBA teams have come back down 3-1), this Nets team is certainly capable of beating this Bulls team in an individual game. All that's left is to do it one time, three times.
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