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Nets 97, Bobcats 81

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK - Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov cut short a skiing vacation in British Columbia to attend to the numerous issues plaguing his team during the previous 13 games. Those problems included 1-on-1 play, a stagnant offense as well as a lack of concentration and, after seeing it linger for way too long, the Russian billionaire said he wanted to tackle those issues head-on.

That meant making a coaching change and replacing Avery Johnson with assistant P.J. Carlesimo, who is the interim head coach. Though that move was officially made Thursday, Prokhorov said he decided to fire Johnson last week.

A day after firing Johnson, Prokhorov addressed the decision at halftime and watched the Nets coast for most of the night Friday en route to 97-81 rout of the Charlotte Bobcats, who dropped their 17th straight game.

"I cut my vacation short to be here to solve this problem," Prokhorov said during the opening statement of his 8 1/2-minute media briefing. "From the first day that I bought the team, we have one goal, championship. Our fans have been incredibly welcome to the Nets and supportive of the team and really they deserve a team they can be proud of."

Though the Nets are expected to consider marquee coaching names such as Phil Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy, Prokhorov reiterated numerous times that Carlesimo is the coach for the foreseeable future.

"Now P.J. is the head coach and if it becomes necessary, you know who the usual suspects are," Prokharov said.

Prokhorov attended his sixth game at the Barclays Center and watched from a luxury suite as Brook Lopez had 26 points and 11 rebounds and Deron Williams totaled 19 points in his return from a bruised right wrist.

The Nets hardly resembled the team that was outscored 67-36 during the second quarter of Johnson's final two games -- double-digit losses to Boston and Milwaukee. Granted, the Nets were playing one of the league's worst teams on Friday and face another also-ran in Cleveland Saturday night before visiting Western Conference powers San Antonio and Oklahoma City next week, but the quality of play resembled what the Nets showed during their strong start to the season, and not what they had displayed while folding in difficult situations.recently.

"I think the lack of concentration, and I always stress that we showed really a bad second half, really bad," Prokhorov said. "(There was) no team spirit and no desire to fight and we saw some games that the team wasn't ready to fight."

The Nets did not have to worry about engaging the Bobcats in a tight hard-fought game. They took their first double-digit lead early in the first quarter and coasted into halftime with a 56-38 lead thanks to a 10-2 run fueled by Williams and Lopez.

Brooklyn continued pouring it on in the third quarter. The Nets scored the first seven points of the second half and took a 22-point lead into the fourth quarter.

Charlotte did not have a player reach double figures until 3:57 remained in the third with the margin already 25 points.

NOTES: Carlesimo said he did not have sufficient time to implement a specific strategic plan based on scouting reports for the Bobcats and Cavaliers. Instead his message to the team focused on handling adversity and playing hard. Carlesimo also stated that he would like to play at a little quicker pace at times, though he expressed caution. "At times we want to," he said before the game. "We would prefer to push the ball because Deron is so good pushing and creating and we've got some guys and we'd like to push it to Brook down low and get it ahead to Joe or G (Gerald Wallace) or our other player. We don't want to particularly against a team like this (Charlotte). That line sometimes is a hard line to walk." ... Brooklyn power forward Kris Humphries missed his third straight game with a mild abdominal strain. ... Wallace was listed as a game-time decision with a hyperextended left knee but was in the starting lineup. ... Charlotte coach Mike Dunlap commented on the one-game suspension issued to Miami star Dwyane Wade for kicking guard Ramon Sessions by saying "The competitive juices got the better (of him)...but there's no place for that. I thought they were going to do something. Obviously, from the film, they had to do something.''

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