Nets get 5th win, knock off Bobcats 103-94
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP)—The NBA’s worst team was getting one easy basket after another in transition, hitting outside shots, getting key defensive stops and celebrating a rare victory.
Sure, the Nets are 3-47 against the league’s 28 other teams. But they’re 2-1 against Charlotte, which began the night in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The Bobcats were also was the first team to lose to New Jersey after its record 0-18 start.
Lopez scored 16 points before fouling out for the energized Nets (5-48), who snapped an eight-game losing streak, improved to 2-27 on the road and moved ahead of the pace of the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, who finished an all-time NBA-worst 9-73.
Not a bad way to return from the All-Star break.
“I really think everybody really just got away from it and kind of refocused and forgot about the first part of the season,” said Harris, who spent the time off at Disney World. “Guys came in ready to play and ready to go.”
That certainly wasn’t the case for the Bobcats (26-26), who spent the night watching the Nets get easy layups and dunks in a dismal effort that led to pockets of boos from their sparse home crowd.
It led to a somber atmosphere in the Charlotte locker room. Even the TV was turned off.
“Everybody is really down because it was the Nets but they are an NBA team,” said Stephen Jackson(notes), who scored 15 points but hit only 7 of 20 shots. “We didn’t respect them and they came in and played a better game than we did. They played harder, they made shots.”
The Bobcats could never make a significant run, and Lopez’s dunk with 4:22 left made it 96-86. After the Bobcats cut the lead to 98-93 and with Lopez on the bench with six fouls, Jarvis Hayes(notes) hit a 3-pointer with 58 seconds left to put it away.
Harris added nine assists and six rebounds and the Nets placed five players in double figures in a rare solid offensive performance. New Jersey came in averaging 89.8 points and 42 percent shooting from the field.
The Bobcats, who needed late-game heroics to beat struggling Washington and Minnesota in the two games before the All-Star break, couldn’t mount a comeback this time.
“I told our coaches early in the game that I’ve seen this the last three weeks,” Bobcats coach Larry Brown said. “I think we’ve lost a lot of defensive intensity.”
The Nets blew an early 24-13 lead with similar miscues that have plagued their season—a shot-clock violation, 8-second violation and Harris dribbling the ball off his foot out of bounds.
Jackson banked in a long jumper to beat the shot clock and tie it at 52 at halftime.
But the Charlotte run never happened. With Lee hitting from the outside and the Bobcats still not getting back on defense, the Nets built an 82-73 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Neither Bobcats owner Bob Johnson nor part-owner Michael Jordan were in their courtside seats a day after Brown said Jordan is doing everything he can to buy majority control of the team.
Maybe it was a good thing they missed the Nets win on the road for the first time since Dec. 8 at Chicago.
NOTES: With the Bobcats seeking a PF before the trade deadline, backup PG D.J. Augustin’s(notes) name keeps coming up in trade talk. “You can’t let it mess up your game or your focus,” he said. “If it happens it happens.” … Nets C Tony Battie(notes) (illness) didn’t make the trip. … Nets coach Kiki Vandeweghe, who played for Brown at UCLA, called him “probably the best coach I’ve ever played for.” … Belmont Abbey routed Johnson & Wales 99-26 in a college matinee before the NBA game. Hayes sat in the stands watching his brother, Jonas, a Belmont Abbey assistant.