Brooklyn made the most of a quick stop home by beating a first-place team and now has a shot at notching consecutive wins for the first time this season against an opponent tied for last.
The Nets visit Charlotte Wednesday night, where they beat the Hornets twice last season and can now start trying to turn around what's been an awful start to 2015-16.
A 90-88 win over Atlanta Tuesday followed a four-game road trip on which the Nets (2-9) earned their first victory in Houston after an 0-7 start. Thaddeus Young hit two free throws with 1.4 seconds left and finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Brook Lopez had 24 and 10.
There were no style points after a combined 14 turnovers led to a 19-17 Hawks' advantage after the first quarter.
"The game wasn't the prettiest," said Jarrett Jack, who has been impressive the last three games with 21.0 points and 9.7 assists per game. "I have a saying that it may not look pretty, but it all looks the same in the 'W' column."
Regardless of how it happened, coach Lionel Hollins was relieved after his club blew a late lead in Saturday's 107-99 overtime loss in Golden State. That was preceded by a two-point loss in Sacramento and the win over the Rockets. Dating back to a six-point home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 6, Brooklyn hasn't had any games over a 2-4 span decided by double figures, so results might be closer than its record indicates.
"This was a big win," Hollins told the team's official website. "The big difference between two games. One game we have three opportunities to execute and we don't. Tonight we have three opportunities to execute and we do and we come out a winner."
It's now back out on the road for two more and, if it begins well, a third straight win in Charlotte. The Nets won two of three last season with Lopez scoring 34 points with 10 rebounds in a 91-88 road win on March 25 to clinch the season series.
The Nets have dropped their last five without a day of rest dating to last season, while the Hornets won their only game on no rest this season and will also be completing a back-to-back set.
The Hornets (5-6), though, are seeking a split after falling 102-94 in New York on Tuesday. Kemba Walker scored a season-best 31 points on 12-of-21 shooting, but the rest of the starting five managed 22 points on 10 of 30. Walker's backcourt mate, Nicolas Batum, was 1 for 9 after scoring 25.5 points and making 15 of 26 from 3-point range in his previous four games.
"We missed shots, but we got some good-looking shots," Walker said. "We got it down to four, but unfortunately they just didn't drop."
Walker had been in a bit of a funk, averaging 11.5 points on 30.2 percent in his previous four games, and he's been held to 13.0 on 32.9 percent in his last five against Brooklyn.
Coach Steve Clifford's team has won three straight at home, though it figures to again be without starting forward P.J. Hairston, who missed the game against the Knicks with a bruised right thigh. Clifford said he thought there was ''no chance'' Hairston would return Wednesday, adding that the second-year player "tried to do some stuff (Tuesday) and he's not even close."