NEW YORK -- Brook Lopez had his second consecutive dominating game for interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, scoring 35 points and grabbing 11 rebounds to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 103-100 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night at the Barclays Center.
It was the second straight win for Carlesimo, who was elevated to coach Thursday when Avery Johnson was fired. The Nets improved to 16-14 but just 5-10 in December. The Cavaliers (7-25) lost for the second straight time.
Besides Lopez, who reached a double-double for the third straight game and scored a season high in points, the Nets received 15 points and seven assists from Deron Williams and 15 points from Joe Johnson.
C.J. Miles had 33 points off the bench to lead Cleveland. Miles made 8 of 10 from behind the arc. Tristan Thompson had 17 points and 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers. Kyrie Irving was held to 13 points and seven assists.
Cleveland came within three at 100-97, but Irving spun in the lane and missed a layup. After Williams made one free throw with 10 seconds left, Irving nailed a long 3-pointer to bring the Cavs to within one again at 101-100 with 5.6 seconds left. Irving had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer, but his 28-foot bomb rolled off the rim to give the Nets the win.
For the second straight game under Carlesimo, the Nets came out on fire, looking to leading scorer Lopez to lead the way.
Lopez had 15 points the first quarter, giving the Nets a 34-24 lead. Lopez had seven points in a 13-0 run midway through the quarter to take control. It was Lopez's highest one-quarter point total this season.
Andray Blatche hit a corner 3-pointer to give the Nets a 37-24 lead to start the second quarter, but Miles came off the bench to spark the Cavaliers' comeback.
Miles hit 7 of 8 from the floor, including four from long range. His 19 points brought Cleveland within seven, 45-38, with 5:38 remaining in the half.
The Nets held a 61-53 lead at the break, thanks to 21 points from Lopez. Miles was the top scorer in the first half with 22 points.
Both teams shot the ball well in the first half, with the Nets connecting on 60 percent (24 of 40). Cleveland connected on 53 percent (23 of 43).
The Nets led by as many as 13 in the third period (72-59).
Cleveland trimmed the lead to 79-78 with 11:21 remaining in the fourth quarter on a driving play from Jeremy Pargo. But the Nets went on a 9-1 run, thanks to their prowess at the free throw line. Lopez, Williams and Evans each made two free throws, giving Brooklyn an 88-79 lead with 8:17 left.
NOTES: Carlesimo had lunch Saturday with Nets owner Mikhail Prokorov at a Greek restaurant in Manhattan. "The vegetables were incredible, the food was good, but I didn't eat much," Carlesimo joked. "I'd love to go back there. I didn't have any wine because we had a game tonight. We had a very good time. We talked about the team. We talked about food and restaurants. We talked about skiing. Not much of anything else." When asked if Prokhorov talked about Carlesimo's future as coach in the two-hour lunch, Carlesimo said, "He spoke of how he saw the team and we talked about how (general manager) Billy (King) and I saw the team. He wants to win a championship and he's willing to do whatever it takes. He has a good understanding of the team. If we keep winning, that's good, because he definitely likes winning." Carlesimo said he wasn't planning to change much, but he may look to push the ball more than the Nets did when Avery Johnson was coach. "We've played better when we've pushed it," Carlesimo said. "We don't want to just pack it in. Our bigs run pretty well, so we can push it. I think we want to do both, but it's a hard line to walk. I think we need to win and we'll deal with what we have to do." ... Nets F Kris Humphries (abdominal strain) was inactive for the fourth straight game and will miss at least the next two games. ... Anderson Varejao, who had 35 points and 18 rebounds in the first meeting between the two teams, won by the Nets 114-101 on Nov. 13, was inactive due to a deep knee bruise. Daniel Gibson and Samardo Samuels were also inactive for Cleveland.