After the way they played in Friday night’s 94-89 victory over the Atlanta Hawks, Carlesimo wasn’t about to change his tune.
“They are all worthy of being All-Stars,” Carlesimo said after his big three combined for 62 points. “Two of them (have already been) All-Stars, Brook should be, if he’s not this year he’s going to be eventually. Hopefully it will happen this year. It’s in the coaches’ hands now, so I feel good about that. There are 15 teams in our conference, so we’ll see what happens. The only good news is if they don’t make it, they will get some rest.”
On Friday night, Lopez had 16 of his 20 points in the second half to go along with six rebounds and a game-saving block with 28.9 seconds left. Williams added 24 points, seven assists and four clutch free throws in the final 43.4 seconds, while Johnson chipped in 18 points -- 14 in the final 24 minutes.
Lopez, who his teammates believe deserves to make his first All-Star team the most of anyone on the roster, came from the helpside to swat a shot by Jeff Teague and preserve his team’s 92-89 lead.
“No question,” Lopez responded when asked if it was an All-Star caliber play. “That’s not the way I think, though. I was just trying to get that stop when we needed it. Bottom line: we needed to win tonight.”
Williams, who doesn’t think he’s done enough to go to his fourth All-Star game, had 18 of his points in the second half and has made 47 consecutive free throws.
“Stop talking about it,” he replied when a reporter brought the streak to his attention.
“I think when you hit 40-something free throws in a row, you feel pretty good,” said Williams, who earlier noted that he had done too much whining to the referees in the third quarter.
“Hopefully i can keep it going, and you don’t jinx me. ... It’s like a no-hitter. When a guy’s about to throw a no-hitter, you don’t go to the dugout and say something to him.”
Johnson, who believes he deserves to go to his seventh straight All-Star game, went 4-for-15 in his return to Atlanta on Wednesday night. But he turned it around in this one, making the Hawks pay for double-teaming him.
“It’s nice to get a win,” Johnson said. “I don’t downplay it not one bit. That chapter in my life is gone. It’s always great to see those guys and compete against them. But do I want to beat them everytime we play them? Yeah. But that win was just as big as the next one.”