NEW YORK — The Brooklyn Nets gave P.J. Carlesimo a victory in his debut and the Charlotte Bobcats a 17th straight loss, getting 26 points and 11 rebounds from Brook Lopez in a 97-81 rout Friday night.
A day after firing Avery Johnson, the Nets played as they did last month, when they were 11-4 and Johnson was Eastern Conference coach of the month. They are just 4-10 in December, a slump that cost Johnson his job, but got back over .500 with ease.
Deron Williams added 17 of his 19 points in the first half and Joe Johnson had 16 for the Nets, who led by 29 points and won for just the second time in seven games.
Hakim Warrick scored 13 points and Ramon Sessions had 12 for the Bobcats (7-22), who shot 38 percent and haven't won since tying last season's total with their seventh victory.
Of course, nobody is expecting the Bobcats to be any good. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov believes his team is, and he acted quickly when he didn't like the team's spirit.
He revealed at halftime he had decided to fire Johnson last week, even before the lackluster performance on national TV against Boston on Christmas that preceded a dismal showing Wednesday in Milwaukee. The Nets fired Johnson on Thursday and promoted Carlesimo, his assistant, to interim coach.
Though names such as Phil Jackson and other top coaches have already been mentioned as replacements, Prokhorov said he wants Carlesimo to be the coach and the Nets to support him.
Carlesimo, a native of Scranton, last coached his own team when he was fired by the Oklahoma City Thunder after a 1-12 start to the 2008-09 season. He previously had stints in Portland and Golden State, but said before the game he was a little more apprehensive than normal for his return to running his own club.
Your head's spinning a little bit, you're trying to think of all the things that were second nature, Carlesimo said. Hopefully I haven't forgotten. I'm old, but hopefully I haven't forgotten.
It was quickly obvious he had nothing to worry about.
The Bobcats missed 13 of their first 16 shots, making it easy for the Nets. Brooklyn scored nine straight in the middle of the first quarter to open a 12-point lead, extended it to 18 later in the period, and were ahead 33-15 headed to the second.
Williams, who missed Wednesday's game with a bruised right wrist and came into the game shooting under 40 percent for the season, was 7 of 14 from the field. Lopez, the starting center whose seven-game absence with a foot injury started the Nets' downward spiral, was 9 of 12 and made all eight free throws.
INDIANAPOLIS — George Hill scored 22 points, including three 3-pointers, and led the Indiana Pacers to a victory over the Phoenix Suns.
Paul George had 15 points, and David West added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Pacers, who have won four straight and seven of eight.
Sebastian Telfair had 19 points and six assists, and Marcin Gortat had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, who have lost four in a row.
West, who scored eight points in the fourth quarter, netted the go-ahead jumper to give the Pacers an 87-85 lead with 3:17 left to play after the Suns rallied from a 16-point deficit. The Pacers led 85-83 before Telfair scored to tie it.
CLEVELAND — Jeff Teague scored a career-high 27 points and the Atlanta Hawks scored the game's final nine points to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Teague's jumper from the foul line gave the Hawks a 95-94 lead with 2:32 remaining to spark the late run and send Atlanta to its third straight win.
Kyrie Irving led Cleveland with 28 points, but the Cavaliers failed to score in the final 2:53 after taking a 94-93 lead.
Lou Williams scored 16 points for Atlanta, which is 8-4 on the road. Al Horford added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Dion Waiters scored 18 points for Cleveland, which had its season-high two-game winning streak end.
Cavaliers center Anderson Varajeo, the league's leading rebounder, missed his fifth straight game with a bruised right knee.
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Will Bynum had 25 points and 10 assists, leading another spirited performance by the Detroit bench, and the Pistons beat the short-handed Miami Heat despite 35 points by LeBron James.
Miami was without Dwyane Wade, suspended for a game by the NBA for flailing his leg and making contact with a Charlotte player Wednesday.
The Detroit reserves, who scored 85 points in a loss to Atlanta on Wednesday, contributed 64 on Friday. Charlie Villanueva had 18 and Austin Daye added 11, helping the Pistons snap Miami's six-game winning streak.
The Heat scored the game's first 10 points and led by 15 after one quarter, but the momentum shifted for good when the Pistons outscored Miami 41-20 in the second.
Chris Bosh had 28 points for Miami.
WASHINGTON — Jordan Crawford scored 27 points and the worst-in-the-NBA Washington Wizards showed they can still win a game every once in a while, breaking an eight-game losing streak with a victory over the Orlando Magic.
Nene added season highs of 23 points and 11 rebounds and shot fourth-quarter free throws while hearing chants of R-G-3! — the new equivalent of M-V-P! in a city where Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is the new superstar — as Washington won by its largest margin of the season. The game represented one-quarter of the win total for the 4-23 Wizards, who have been stymied in part by the knee injury that has kept franchise player John Wall on the sidelines. Crawford's point total tied the high for any Washington player this season.
DALLAS — Daniro Gallinari scored a career-high 39 points and the Denver Nuggets spoiled Dirk Nowitzki's first home game since returning from knee surgery by beating the Dallas Mavericks.
Nowitzki had five points in 17 minutes in his third game back, and the Mavericks lost their fifth straight for the first time since January 2011.
Gallinari scored five points in the last 5.3 seconds before halftime and opened the second half with a 3-pointer to put the Nuggets up by 11. Andre Iguodala hit four 3-pointers in a 32-point third quarter and finished with 29 points.
O.J. Mayo led Dallas with 15 points.
NEW ORLEANS — DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points, Kyle Lowry had two big baskets in overtime and the Toronto Raptors held off the New Orleans Hornets.
The Raptors, who never trailed in the second half, scored nine of the first 11 points in overtime after blowing a seven-point lead in the last 1:30 of regulation. Amir Johnson scored under the basket to give Toronto a 93-91 lead. Lowry then drove the baseline for a reverse layup and hit a 3-pointer to make it 98-93.
DeRozan finished off the Hornets with two free throws and an outside shot that made it 102-95 with 31.7 seconds left.
Lowry, coming off the bench after missing seven straight games with a partial triceps tear, had 17 points. Alan Anderson added 14 points for the Raptors.
SAN ANTONIO — Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined to score 84 points, and the San Antonio Spurs snapped the Houston Rockets' five-game winning streak with a victory.
Parker had 31 points and 10 assists, Duncan had 30 points and five rebounds, and Ginobili had a season-high 23 points for San Antonio (23-8). Danny Green was 5 for 7 on 3-pointers and finished with 17 points.
James Harden scored 33 points, Chandler Parsons added 24, and Jeremy Lin had 21 for Houston (16-13).
After allowing the Rockets to shoot 55 percent through three quarters, the Spurs clamped down defensively in the fourth. San Antonio had seven steals in the period, and Houston shot 10 for 23 from the field.