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 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 Friday and watched the Nets coast for most of the night 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."
Carlesimo is trying to focus on the job at hand.
"If I had a choice of somebody else getting the job or me, I'll think about it but it really isn't something I'm thinking about," Carlesimo said. "I don't have a good sense of what's going on and I think they're still looking at it. My job is minding the store and we'll see what happens."
Though the Nets are expected to consider marquee coaching names such as Phil Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy, Prokhorov said numerous times that Carlesimo is the coach for the foreseeable future and he will meet with him Saturday.
"Now P.J. is the head coach and if it becomes necessary, you know who the usual suspects are," Prokhorov said.
"Am I anxious to hear what he's got to say, of course I am," Carlesimo said. "But we got to go out and just do the best job we can and see whatever happens. I certainly don't want to lobby or anything like that. I'm sorry that I'm in this position right now to be honest with you. I'm very happy to be coaching in the NBA but I'm sorry that I'm the one sitting up here (on the podium) right now."
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 as the ball consistently moved and the offense flowed most of the night.
"Everything was the same as far as what we did," Williams said. "We didn't change anything. I think we simplified things, we didn't run a lot of sets. We did run sets but I think we did a good job of executing today. We came out with a lot more energy than we had."
"Mainly we just wanted to come out and play with a lot of energy have fun and get a win," added Brooklyn shooting guard Joe Johnson, who chipped in 16 points. "That was the most important thing. P.J. implemented a few things that he wanted us to really focus on tonight, and I thought we did that, especially defensively. It was a great win. Guys were playing with a sense of urgency tonight. It was great to see guys back in rare form, working hard on both ends of the floor, really making plays and just having fun."
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 Friday 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."
That was Prokhorov's description of a team that he thought was good enough to reach the Eastern Conference finals.
"I felt we were a good team all year," Williams said. "We just hit a rough patch. We have to find our way out of it. We took a step in the right direction tonight and we have to keep going."
The Nets did not have to worry about engaging the Bobcats in a tight hard-fought game. The Nets 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.
"You cannot spot teams 33 points and expect to win games in the NBA," Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap said.
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. ... 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.''