P.J. Carlesimo has backing of his top players

Nets' interim coach PJ Carlesimo talks with Deron

Nets' interim coach PJ Carlesimo talks with Deron Williams while playing the Chicago Bulls in the first quarter of Game 7 in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. (May 4, 2013) (Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.)

P.J. Carlesimo accomplished a lot after being handed the interim coaching reins the day the Nets fired Avery Johnson in December, and his players haven't forgotten.

Although Carlesimo failed to guide the Nets to the second round of the playoffs -- a feat he also couldn't accomplish in his two previous head-coaching stints -- Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson voiced support for Carlesimo, whose 35-19 mark was the sixth-best winning percentage in the league since Dec. 27.

"I think he did a great job," Williams said. "With everything that went on this season, there was a lot of turmoil when he inherited us. I think he did a great job of leading us and getting us that fourth seed. I'd love to see him back, but that's not up to me."

Lopez thinks the Nets took to Carlesimo's straightforward approach.

"I'm pretty happy with the way he coaches, with the way things worked out with him," Lopez said. "I think a lot of players bought into what he was preaching."

Said Johnson, "P.J. has been great. He got us to this point. We had a pretty good year, especially when he took over. We made a nice little run and kind of separated ourselves a little bit and sealed up home-court advantage. It just didn't turn out the way we would have liked it to."

Bogans: Tough to sit out

Keith Bogans didn't play in the final five games of the series, mostly because Carlesimo went with MarShon Brooks over him in the rotation. Bogans, who battled a stiff back toward the tail end of the season, struggled with his stroke after the All-Star break and shot 17.6 percent in his final five regular-season games.

Still, watching from the bench wasn't an easy thing for the proud 10-year veteran, who missed most of last year's lockout-shortened campaign after suffering a gruesome injury in which he fractured his left ankle and completely tore the deltoid ligament.

"It was definitely tough," Bogans said. "I just think my body was tired at the end of the year. I think I came back a little too fast, tried to push myself through the injury. It was tough not playing and watching. But I still was there for my team 110 percent, cheered them on the whole way."

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