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P.J. Carlesimo would have preferred Knicks, Nets playing on different days

P.J. Carlesimo shouts to his team in the

P.J. Carlesimo shouts to his team in the third quarter of a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. (Jan. 2, 2013) Credit: AP

New York was truly the basketball mecca Saturday.

The NBA playoffs tipped off full swing with the Nets serving as the Big Apple nightcap after the Knicks opened the league's postseason with a win over the Celtics at the Garden. It was a unique situation, but one that P.J. Carlesimo preferred the NBA would have avoided.

Although the two teams aren't scheduled to play on the same days for the rest of their series, Carlesimo wished one of them could have played Sunday instead of Saturday.

"It's unfortunate, but it is what it is," the Nets interim coach said. "I just think it would be better for both of us if the attention was spread over two days, that you would not have the challenge of jumping on the subway if you wanted to go to both games. You'd have to watch how much beer you could drink in the Garden because you have to save up for the good food in Barclays.

"But yeah, I just think attentionwise, it'd be better for us. I'd rather them play on the other day and get a chance to watch them."


All hands on deck

Down the stretch, the Nets dealt with their share of injuries, particularly to their key players. Joe Johnson was working back from a sore left heel, Gerald Wallace had to fight off a left foot contusion and Keith Bogans' lower back was a little tight.

But Carlesimo professed all those nagging injuries have virtually cleared up at just the ideal time.

"We're as healthy as we've been in a long time," he said. "Maybe it's wrong to say Joe, Gerald or Bogs are 100 percent, but they are better than they've been in a long time and collectively, we are in better shape than we've been in a long time."


Owner Mikhail Prokhorov addressed the crowd at midcourt before tipoff, saying: "I heard there was a blackout in Brooklyn. I came to keep the lights on." . . . Jerry Stackhouse sang the national anthem . . . True to his word, Jay Z is keeping his seats. The hip hop icon, who's going to sell his small stake in the Nets so he can become a full-fledged sports agent, was in his courtside spot, a few places down from the Nets' bench.

New York Sports