NEW YORK — Mikhail Prokhorov saw the draining team spirit, the missing will to fight, and decided change was needed.
The Brooklyn Nets owner had to like the results in the first game under P.J. Carlesimo.
The Nets gave their interim coach 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.
"It's hard to be confident when you're not enjoying success. So I think you have to play your way out of it, shoot your way out of it and I thought we did that tonight," Carlesimo said.
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. Prokhorov believes his team is, and he acted quickly when he didn't like the team's spirit.
The Russian billionaire cut short a ski vacation to Canada and 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.
PACERS 97, SUNS 91: At Indianapolis, George Hill scored 22 points, including three 3-pointers, while 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.
WIZARDS 105, MAGIC 97: At Washington, Jordan Crawford scored 27 points, and worst-in-the-NBA Washington showed it can still win a game every once in a while, breaking an eight-game losing streak.
HAWKS 102, CAVALIERS 94: At Cleveland, Jeff Teague scored a career-high 27 points, and Atlanta scored the game's final nine points.
PISTONS 109, HEAT 99: At Auburn Hills, Mich., Will Bynum had 25 points and 10 assists, leading another spirited performance by the Detroit reserves, and the Pistons beat short-handed Miami despite 35 points by LeBron James.
SPURS 122, ROCKETS 116: At San Antonio, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined to score 84 points, and San Antonio snapped Houston's five-game winning streak.
RAPTORS 104, HORNETS 97 (OT): At New Orleans, DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points, Kyle Lowry had two big baskets in overtime as the Raptors, who never trailed in the second half.
NUGGETS 106, MAVERICKS 85: At Dallas, Danilo Gallinari scored a career-high 39 points, and Denver spoiled Dirk Nowitzki's first home game since returning from knee surgery.1 comment on this story
KINGS 106, KNICKS 105: At Sacramento, Calif., James Johnson made a 3-pointer at the buzzer, lifting Sacramento after blowing an early 27-point lead. J.R. Smith scored a season-high 28 points for the Knicks.
LAKERS 104, TRAIL BLAZERS 87: At Los Angeles, Dwight Howard had 21 points and 14 rebounds, Kobe Bryant scored 27 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers never trailed in beating Portland for their sixth win in seven games.
WARRIORS 96, 76ERS 89: At Oakland, Calif., David Lee had 25 points and 12 rebounds, one of six Golden State players in double figures, and the Warriors held off a late charge in the fourth quarter.