P.J. Carlesimo didn't have a corncob pipe in his mouth, nor was he ready to pop open a can of spinach with his bare hands. But after the Nets' 96-85 loss to the Bulls Saturday night -- their fourth defeat in the last five games -- the interim coach inadvertently channeled his inner Popeye, saying "we are what we are.''
Said Carlesimo, "Are we playing well? No, we've not been playing well. One of the things we've been all year is inconsistent. We haven't stretched together a patch much longer than three, four five games. Probably four, really."
Carlesimo said it might be time to tinker with a few things, two in particular: his rotation and increasing Mirza Teletovic's court time.
Although Carlesimo said he doesn't know if he is going to make any changes with the starting lineup, tightening up the number of players who see extensive game action apparently will be a priority. At the moment, he's going 11 deep, and he understands that can't continue much longer. "We are going to talk about a lot of things," he said, "but it would be more of tightening up."
Those were sweet words to Deron Williams, who perked up when he heard the news. If settling into a consistent substitution pattern is something Carlesimo is considering, Williams is all for it.
"That would be nice," he said. "I think everybody would welcome that. It's so guys know when their minutes are going to be there, when they are going in, when they are going out. It's easier to be ready. No matter what, you should be ready to play. We are professionals, and when your name is called, you should be ready. But it helps guys mentally.
"Not so much me, I'm talking about the guys who play 15 minutes a game, knowing when their minutes are going to be. When you have a tight rotation and you know who you are going to be playing with, the chemistry forms a little bit better.''
Carlesimo is pondering using Brook Lopez and Andray Blatche as a tandem more. "It makes us harder to defend," he said. "When you put Dray on the floor with Brook or you put Mirza on the floor with Brook, it stretches out the defense more in two different ways."