Brook Lopez posted a double-double with 26 points and 11 rebounds as the Brooklyn Nets pounded the Charlotte Bobcats, 97-81, in the debut of interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo at the Barclays Center.
Former coach Avery Johnson was relieved of his duties on Thursday afternoon after Brooklyn went into a 3-10 skid in December following an 11-4 start to the season, which earned him the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month award for November.
Deron Williams added 19 points and Joe Johnson followed with 16 in the victory.
"It's a tough situation, I think, for everybody. It's a situation none of us want to be in," Williams said about the coaching change.
Hakim Warrick paced the Bobcats with 13 points, while Ramon Sessions and Ben Gordon recorded 12 and 10 points, respectively, in Charlotte's 17th straight defeat since a double-overtime victory over the Washington Wizards on Nov. 24.
Brooklyn netted the first five points of the game to grab a lead they would hold throughout the entire contest.
The Bobcats later closed their gap to 7-4 before a Williams 3-pointer sparked a 24-11 run over the final 8 1/2 minutes of the first quarter that gave the Nets a 33-15 lead entering the second.
Charlotte shot just 27.8 percent (5-for-18) over the opening 12 minutes, while Lopez led a Brooklyn attack that connected on 55 percent (11-for-20) of its shots with 12 first-quarter points.
"It's always tough getting off to a slow start and then trying to fight back the entire night," said Gordon.
The Nets maintained a double-digit lead in the second quarter until Sessions capped a 6-0 push with a floater to bring the Bobcats within 42-33 with 4:16 remaining in the half.
Brooklyn, however, responded with four straight points by Marshon Brooks to start a 14-5 run, giving the Nets a 56-38 advantage at the break.
Charlotte never threatened in the second half as the Bobcats trailed by 20- plus points through the third quarter and got no closer 12 in the fourth.
Nets forward Kris Humphries sat out the game with a sore abdominal muscle ... Charlotte was held to just 38.4 percent shooting. The Nets have not allowed an over 50 percent from the field in their last 11 games ... Brooklyn connected on 44.7 percent of its shots.