The Skinny: The Nets opened up their first game in the post-Avery Johnson era with a bit more energy and pep than in previous games. The Nets hit six of their first ten shots and jumped out to a 17-7 lead behind Keith Bogans and Brook Lopez, who each scored six points in the early going. Brook Lopez set the tone for the Nets early, scoring 12 points, grabbing five rebounds and blocking three shots. By the end of the quarter, the Nets led 33-15 and seemed to have the game in hand.
Carlesimo juggled his lineup the same way Johnson did and began the quarter with four reserves—Andray Blatche, C.J. Watson, Reggie Evans and Jerry Stackhouse—playing with Joe Johnson. The Bobcats got five early second quarter points from Ben Gordon and closed the gap to 12, but he was replaced by Walker and Johnson had his way with the smaller Bobcats' backcourt. Johnson scored six points in the first half of the quarter and helped the Nets keep the Bobcats at bay. By halftime, the score was 56-38 and the Nets were firmly in control. Deron Williams had 17 points in the half and Ramon Sessions led the way for the Bobcats with eight.
In the third quarter, it was much of the same. The Nets opened up a 27 point lead after beginning the quarter on 14-5 run. Brook Lopez scored eight points in the quarter ensured that the fourth quarter would be nothing but garbage time.
The Nets reserves held the lead and helped the team to a rare blowout victory. Though the Nets won by 16, the game was never in doubt and it wasn't close down the stretch.
High Scorers: Brook Lopez led the way for the Nets, finishing up with 26 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. For the Bobcats, Hakim Warrick scored 13 points on 4-for-10 shooting.
Key Stats: The Bobcats would have had a hard time hitting the ocean with a beach ball. The club managed just 38 first half points partially due to its shooting 5-for-18 in the first quarter. In the third quarter, the Bobcats shot just 6-for-20 and never threatened the Nets.
Who Was Hot: Deron Williams set the tone early for the Nets. He scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half, including three three-pointers. He and Lopez set the tone for the Nets and helped them cruise to an easy victory. For the Bobcats, nobody was hot.
Who Was Not: Gerald Wallace had five rebounds and six assists, but he was 0-for-3 from the field in 24 minutes. For the Bobcats, Kemba Walker turned in a pretty bad performance, he managed to shoot just 2-for-10 and scored just five points.
Fun Fact: The Charlotte Bobcats have now lost 17 games in a row but, amazingly, are still a full two games better than the NBA's worst team—the 4-23 Washington Wizards.
After Avery Johnson's firing, the Nets absolutely needed to beat the Bobcats on Friday night and they set the tone early in what ended up being a convincing victory. The most interesting thing about this game was that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov spoke to the media at halftime and revealed that he made the decision to fire Avery Johnson last week.
The Nets starters got some rest down the stretch of this game, and it's good that they did. The club will host the Cleveland Cavaliers tomorrow night in the second night of a back-to-back.