Coach's Report: Joe 'listened intently'

CHICAGO -- Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Johnson might have been held out of Thursday morning’s shootaround because of a sore left foot, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t involved in the preparation for Game 3 of the NBA playoffs against the Chicago Bulls.

“He listened intently,” coach P.J. Carlesimo said.

What Johnson surely heard was the importance his coach put on the opening to the first game of the series in Chicago.

“Regardless of whether Joe plays or Joe doesn’t play, we have to be ready right from the beginning, especially that first six minutes,” Carlesimo said. “I think the fact that we have played well on the road all year, gives us reason to be confident, but at 7:30 it’s not going to make much difference. The road has been good to us so hopefully it will continue to be.”

KING-SIZED CONTRACT? With rumors abounding that general manager Billy King could sign a contract extension with the Nets, Carlesimo was reserved in his comments before Thursday’s game.

“That’s the first I heard about it,” Carlesimo said. “I’m not going to comment on a rumor. I hope it’s true.”

If a deal with King is completed, the next order of business could be a decision on retaining Carlesimo. Asked what he thought of King’s work while building the current Nets roster, Carlesimo was brief.

“Great job,” he said.

WELL EARNED: C.J. Watson was in line to start in Game 3 if Johnson was unavailable because of the plantar fasciitis ailment that has affected his left foot. But Carlesimo didn’t want Watson’s starting assignment to sound like a default honor.

“He’s played really well,” Carlesimo said. “We’ll put our best five out there. He’s played really well.”

Watson scored 10 points with five assists in Game 1 of the series and added 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the Game 2 defeat.