Thunder, coach Scott Brooks to meet former boss P.J. Carlesimo

It's Carlesimo who is the interim coach this time, leading the Nets into Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday night.
By John Rohde Published: January 1, 2013


photo - Brooklyn Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo calls out to his team during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, in New York. The Nets won 103-100. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) ORG XMIT: NYFF113
Brooklyn Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo calls out to his team during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, in New York. The Nets won 103-100. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) ORG XMIT: NYFF113

In an odd twist of role reversal, P.J. Carlesimo and Scott Brooks will reunite at Chesapeake Energy Arena at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Carlesimo coached the first 13 games of the Thunder's history before being replaced on an interim basis by Brooks.

Now it's Carlesimo who wears the interim tag as the man in charge of the Brooklyn Nets after they fired coach Avery Johnson last Thursday.

Carlesimo won his first two games after replacing Johnson, but the Nets (16-15) got blown out 104-73 at San Antonio on Monday night while getting outscored 30-5 in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, OKC (24-6) has won 12 straight at The Peake, where it is 16-2 this season.

Thunder fans barely got to know Carlesimo, who went 20-62 in the Seattle SuperSonics' final season (2007-08). That was followed by a 1-12 start to the franchise's inaugural campaign in OKC.

Brooks got off to the exact same start, going 1-12 after replacing Carlesimo and slipping to 2-17 before closing out the season with a far more respectable 20-30 mark. When the Thunder went 50-32 the following season, Brooks was named 2010 NBA Coach of the Year.

Since having the interim title removed after the 2008-09 season, Brooks owns a 176-84 (.677) record. Only San Antonio's Gregg Popovich at 186-77 (.707) has a better record in that same span.

After leaving OKC, the 63-year-old Carlesimo served as a pro and college television analyst in 2009-10, was a Toronto Raptors assistant for one season and joined the Nets' staff prior to the 2011-12 season.

In 2007, new general manager Sam Presti interviewed both Carlesimo and Brooks for the Seattle SuperSonics' head coaching job. Presti hired Carlesimo, who eventually hired Brooks as an assistant.

“I really appreciate what P.J. did for me, gave me an opportunity to work under him,” Brooks said. “He's a very good man. It was a great experience. I wish him success. I have nothing but good things to say about him. He's one of the hardest workers I've ever been around and he's done it at a lot of different levels — high school, college and the NBA.”

Carlesimo coached Kevin Durant in 2007-08, when he averaged 20.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and was voted NBA Rookie of the Year.

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Thunder vs. Nets

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena

TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma (Cox 37/HD 722, DirecTV 679, Dish 447, U-Verse 754/HD 1754).

Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM

Three things to know

* Brooklyn fired coach Avery Johnson on Dec. 27 after a 14-14 start. The Nets promoted lead assistant and former Thunder coach P.J. Carlesimo to interim head coach, and he's 2-1 since taking over.

* This is the second and final meeting this season between Oklahoma City and Brooklyn. The Thunder won the first meeting, 117-111, on Dec. 4 at Brooklyn.

* Kevin Durant averaged 31 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.4 steals and one block in December. He shot 51.6 percent for the field, 41.7 percent from behind the 3-point line and 92.1 percent from the foul line.

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