P.J. Carlesimo considers resting some players; Deron Williams not interested
TORONTO -- The Nets could have built their own igloo inside the visitors' locker room at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis and rented it out.
"You go in there," interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said minutes after the Nets' 117-109 win over the Pacers Friday night, "it's like ice bags all over the place."
The ice was for all the injuries the Nets are nursing, and it also got Carlesimo thinking about the right way to tackle the next few days. His quandary is whether to play it smart or listen to his players. He has to figure out if it's best to hold some of them out of the final three games -- including Sunday against the Raptors (31-48) -- when the likes of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson want to ride it out a little longer.
Even though the Nets (47-32) have locked up the Eastern Conference's fourth seed, guaranteeing themselves home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, there's still an ever-so-slim possibility of snaring the third spot if the Nets win their final three games and the Pacers lose their last three.
With that in mind, does Carlesimo put Gerald Wallace, who suffered a left heel contusion against the Celtics on Wednesday, back out there before the postseason rolls around so he can get his timing and conditioning in order? What about the Nets' starting backcourt?
"We've got to weigh pros and cons," Carlesimo said, "resting guys and getting guys healthy and seeing what happens with these last three games."
If Williams has his way, he won't be taking a seat. He knows a little rest might be beneficial, but he's not ready to shut it down until the postseason. To him, it's not even an option. Not now, anyway.
"I still want to play," Williams said. "We can still get the three seed. We have to hope for Indiana to lose some games, but it's still possible. I think we have a good thing going right now, and we're just now getting Joe back, and hopefully we'll get Gerald back soon. So we need to be going full tilt going into the playoffs."
Johnson isn't ready to be a spectator, either. With the way he's been playing lately, averaging 18.3 points and shooting 50 percent from three-point range in his last three games, who can blame him?
"We are not satisfied," said Johnson, who's showing no ill effects from his nagging sore left heel. "Hopefully we can move up even higher. So we've still got work left to be done . . . We'll just see how things go, whether Indiana loses. We'll see."
Unlike their previous games, when they were facing playoff-bound Boston and Indiana, the Nets won't get another chance to fine-tune things in a hostile environment before the postseason rolls around next weekend.
But at least they've learned one lesson on this final regular-season road trip: the importance of composure, something Reggie Evans failed to do when he collected a pair of technicals against the Pacers and was ejected.
"Reggie is an emotional guy and we fed off his energy," Williams said. "[Friday], it was a little bit the other way. But that's who he is and that's why we love him. So if you ask him, he probably now wished he would've controlled himself because he got kicked out of the game and he wants to be out there. But we wouldn't trade Reggie for anybody."