Brook Lopez poured in 35 points on 13-of-20 shooting and ripped down 11 rebounds as the Brooklyn Nets held on for a 103-100 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday at Barclays Center.
Deron Williams netted 15 points to go with seven assists, while Joe Johnson added 15 points for the Nets, who improved to 2-0 under interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo. Reggie Evans and Gerald Wallace each pulled down 10 rebounds to go with seven points in the victory.
"We're happy to be on the winning track. It has been an emotional roller coaster," Williams said of the team's coaching change. "Hopefully that stuff is behind us. We just have to keep playing and keep getting better."
C.J. Miles dropped 33 points and made 8-of-10 from three-point range, while Tristan Thompson added a double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds for the Cavs, who have lost two straight.
Kyrie Irving netted 13 points and handed out seven assists, but missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Lopez buried a hook shot in the lane with 2:27 to play, pushing the Brooklyn lead to 100-93. But the Cavs ripped off a 7-1 run, capped by a deep trey from Irving, to cut the deficit to 101-100 with 5.9 ticks remaining.
Johnson made two free throws on the Nets' next trip down the floor to make it 103-100, leaving the Cavs with 5.4 seconds to get off the final shot.
On the final play, Irving got the ball just across the timeline on a side-out pass and hoisted a 3-ball from well beyond the arc, but the shot hit the back of the iron and rolled off, sealing the win for the Nets.
It was a back and forth affair for most of the first quarter as a putback slam by Thompson pulled the Cavs within 13-11 with 5:43 on the clock, but the Nets created some distance between the teams with a 15-2 surge.
A free throw by Evans capped the run which gave the home side a 28-13 advantage and they led 34-24 heading into the second frame.
"We're playing hard, but there are some growing pains as we're learning how to play," Miles said. "We got off to a slow start, which really didn't help the cause."
Brooklyn kept the Cavs at arm's length throughout the second stanza, but a layup by Dion Waiters with 4:16 to go before the break cut the Cleveland deficit to 47-42.
Williams answered with a layup at the other end and Lopez followed with a slam to push the Brooklyn lead back to 51-42 with 3:43 to play.
Tyler Zeller drained a layup with 2.6 seconds on the clock, but the Cavs trailed 61-53 at the break.
The Nets shot an impressive 60 percent from the floor over the first 24 minutes, with Lopez leading the way with 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting.
Brooklyn led by double digits for most of the third stanza as a pair of free throws by Wallace made it 79-67 with 1:19 left, but the Cavs then came storming back.
Cleveland closed the quarter with seven straight points to cut the deficit to 79-74 heading into the fourth.
Cavs forward Anderson Varejao missed his sixth straight game with a right knee contusion, while Daniel Gibson did not play due to a concussion ... The Nets improved to 12-7 when leading at halftime ... Brooklyn shot 46.7 percent from the floor, but converted 18 Cleveland turnovers into 24 points.