Brooklyn’s 88-85 win over the Knicks at MSG earlier today improved the visitors’ record to 11-2 since Avery Johnson was deemed surplus to requirements. Newsday’s Barbara Barker, mindful of current Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo’s unusual career trajectory, suggests that for the former target of Latrell Sprewell’s aggression, recent developments represent “karmic payback”.

Carlesimo knows that the only way he can whack the name Sprewell from the first sentence of his biography is to do something that overshadows it. And what could be bigger than somehow holding on to this job and being the first coach to bring a professional title to Brooklyn since Walter Alston’s Dodgers beat the Yankees in 1955?

“It really comes down to results. People’s perceptions are still colored to a lot of degree by your success,” Carlesimo said. “Bill Parcells was demanding but he got results, so he’s a great communicator.”

Carlesimo’s preferred method of communication still includes a degree of yelling and screaming. Anyone who watches five minutes of a Nets game can see that.

Yet these Nets don’t seem to mind all of that, not as long as he allows them to play their freewheeling style of offense.

“He’s definitely not a mellow guy, but the stuff he says in practice, a lot of it is pretty funny,” shooting guard Joe Johnson said. “The thing with P.J. is as long as we play hard on defense, he gives us a lot of freedom on offense.”