P.J. Carlesimo said he felt anxious prior to Friday night’s game against the Charlotte Bobcats.
But following a 97-81 victory in his debut as interim head coach, Carlesimo turned into comedian.
Asked what he wants to get out of his meeting Saturday with owner Mikhail Prokhorov, Carlesimo responded, “I think a lunch. We’re going to a restaurant or something, hopefully.”
He later added: “Honestly, am I anxious to hear what he has to say? Of course I am. We just gotta do the best job we can and see whatever happens. Honestly, I don’t want to lobby for it or anything like that. I’m sorry that I’m in this position.”
Prokhorov backed Carlesimo at his news conference at halftime, but also left open the possibility that the Nets may name a permanent replacement for the job.
“P.J. is the head coach and we have an amount of trust with him,” Prokhorov said. “Now P.J. is the head coach, and if it become(s) necessary, you know who the usual suspects are.”
Phil Jackson is the top target. Jeff Van Gundy is a serious candidate. Kelvin Sampson is a darkhorse.
As for Carlesimo?
“If I had a choice of somebody else getting the job or me, I’d think about it, but I’d probably pick me,” he said. “It really isn’t something I’m thinking about, because I don’t have a good sense of what’s going on. They’re still looking at it. We’re day to day.”
While they beat a floundering team that has now lost 17 straight games, the Nets seemed to respond well to their new coach, coasting to an easy victory.
Exactly what a team that still has aspirations of a playoff berth and more should do.
“I think he did a great job tonight of coaching us, of picking his spots, and letting us go,” said point guard Deron Williams, who scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half. “He wanted us to push the ball more, and I think we did a better job of that, and kind of flow into our stuff more.
“We got a lot of easy baskets tonight. The ball was moving today. It wasn’t one of those games like in the past where it was somebody’s turn, and then somebody else’s turn. It was kind of moving out there.”
• The Nets (15-14) have won five in a row against Charlotte. ... They are 8-3 against the Eastern Conference. ... They are 9-1 when holding opponents under 90 points. ... The Nets led by as many as 29 points. ... The Nets are the fourth team Carlesimo has coach to a victory. He is the third consecutive Nets coach to win in his debut.