One night after going into double overtime with the Washington Wizards, P.J. Carlesimo went to his bench early and often. The reserves did not disappoint.
The bench combined to score 50 points in a 113-93 Nets’ blowout of the Sacramento Kings. MarShon Brooks scored 15 points while Mirza Teletovic added 14 points.
With the starters playing extended minutes in a 115-113 win over the Wizards on Friday night, Carlesimo held four of the five starters under 30 minutes. Only Reggie Evans eclipses the mark with 31:19 of action.
Center Brook Lopez scored a team-high 18 points in just 16:26. Lopez went for
Carlesimo’s faith in the bench allowed him to rest his starters, though. The Nets completed a stretch of six games in nine nights with the opportunity for rest in the upcoming week. Carlesimo kickstarted the rest prior to the fourth quarter.
“We had guys who played big minutes last night who were clearly tired,” Carlesimo said. “For all those guys to come in and play the way they played was significant… The bench came in and did exactly what we needed them to do. They gave us minutes and they gave us production.”
In back-to-back games, reserves powered Brooklyn to wins. After falling behind by eight points in the first overtime against the Wizards, Keith Bogans went on a tear. His three-pointer and three converted field goals sparked the comeback.
Against the Kings, Teletovic, Brooks, and Andray Blatche combined for 44 points. Teletovic garnered a career-high 20:56 after playign sparingly under Avery Johnson.
“P.J. was very straight up with me,” Teletovic said. “He said, ‘I know you struggled the past few months but I know what you’re capable of.’
“Playing in Europe I was the main guy,” Teletovic added. “It was kind of tough for me in the beginning to go back and adjust to my role and to the team.”
Carlesimo has been pleased with Teletovic’s recent surge as well.
“That’s Mirza’s second really encouraging performance in a row,” Carlesimo said. “We knew he could make shots, but he’s doing some of the other things that are important. I liked his floor game (and) his attitude has been excellent.”
Due to the overall team effort under adverse circumstances, Carlesimo conveyed his elated state.
“You’re going to laugh, but I feel as good as I felt after the win in Oklahoma City,” Carlesimo said. “They made it look like it wasn’t as difficult as it was by the way they played.”
Lopez added that the bench’s energy has added to the team’s confidence, something that went missing in December.
“Just being able to depend on them when we need a lift is huge,” Lopez said. “We’re getting our confidence as a group, our trust.”
After nine games in 14 nights, the Nets will get some time to recuperate. They play the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday and the Phoenix Suns Friday night at the Barclays Center.
The team is 5-1 under Carlesimo and 12-0 against teams under .500 at the time of meeting.