Brooklyn Nets Head coach P.J. Carlesimo waits on the court...

Brooklyn Nets Head coach P.J. Carlesimo waits on the court during the game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. (Jan. 26, 2013) Credit: Getty Images

They are going in the wrong direction, trapped in a tailspin that easily could be extended, given the way their schedule sets up in the next four days, with contests against three likely playoff teams.

P.J Carlesimo even vowed to take a look at changing a few things, figuring it might be time to go a different route with his rotation after another uninspiring outing Friday in Washington.

With the Nets losers of five of their past eight games by a 16.2-point margin as they stumble into Sunday night's matchup with the Spurs (39-12), Carlesimo conceded he's more than a little worried about the way the Nets (29-21) have looked of late. They've cooled off dramatically after that 12-2 record in Carlesimo's first 14 games.

"I'm very concerned," the interim coach said after the Nets' 89-74 loss to the Wizards.

A personnel change eventually might be in the offing, with the Nets reportedly having discussed a deal that would send Kris Humphries to Charlotte for Ben Gordon, but the short-term fix might be juggling the way the bench is utilized.

Initially viewed by many as a strength, the Nets' bench has been wildly inconsistent, turning in maddeningly ugly nights more often than not of late.

The solution could lie in trimming back the minutes of some or perhaps reducing the number of people in the rotation.

"We're going to look at everything," Carlesimo said. "It's not like I know what I'm going to do, but I think the issue is more the people that have been coming off the bench. Again, there's nights when it's been an enormous lift and it's gotten us back in games and opened up games for us. But when we have gone bad, they've gone very bad, and we can't let that happen.

"Our bench has got to play well against the other team's bench or at least hold their own and not dig the kind of holes we've been digging."

Joe Johnson was uncertain if the Nets need a trade to shake things up. "We've shown signs that we can be one of the best teams in the league with what we've got,'' he said, "and then it's been times where you kind of question it. But regardless of what happens, whether we keep who we've got or we do make some changes, we've got to come back. We've got to bounce back Sunday."

Deron Williams said: "We still have things to figure out on both ends of the floor if we want to be considered an elite team. But we can. I don't think it's impossible for us. We've done it at times. We've had some good wins against good teams and then I think we've had some games where we look like one of the worst teams in the league. So that's just all about inconsistency.

"It's like we win five in a row and then we hit these lulls. It's been just a lot of bad habits. Then we start pointing the finger and getting a little selfish. We've just got to get out of that habit."

That's why the Nets' latest loss had Johnson scratching his head, knowing that their margin for error as they jockey for postseason position is getting razor-thin. "We've got to fine-tune and find a rhythm these last three games going into the All-Star break," he said. "We need to go into the All-Star break with momentum. That way we come out and keep rolling. We've passed the halfway point. It's time to gear up."

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