Brook Lopez scores 35 points as Nets hold off Cavs
The Nets remained undefeated in the P.J. Carlesimo era.
Brook Lopez led the Nets to their second consecutive win under interim coach Carlesimo, scoring a season-high 35 points in a 103-100 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Barclays Center on Saturday night.
Lopez also had 11 rebounds, including a huge rebound of Kyrie Irving's missed layup with 13 seconds remaining and the Nets leading 100-97.
After Deron Williams missed the second of two free throws, Irving hit a three-pointer to cut the Nets' lead to 101-100. Joe Johnson was fouled and hit two free throws before Irving missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.
"We wanted to put them away, but they just kept coming back at us," said Lopez, who has had at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in three straight games.
The Nets (16-14) led the Cavaliers by 15 points in the second quarter and 13 in the third. The Cavaliers crept to within 79-78 with 11:29 left in the game before the Nets responded with a 9-1 run for an 88-79 lead with 8:17 left.
"We allowed the game to get close," Carlesimo said. "I don't say we were lucky, but we put ourselves in a position where if a shot goes down, we would still be out there playing."
C.J. Miles, who was 8-for-10 from three-point range, led the Cavaliers with 33 points.
Williams and Johnson each had 15 points and Williams added seven assists.
The Nets finished 5-10 in the month of December. They were 3-10 in the month when coach Avery Johnson was fired Thursday and replaced by Carlesimo.
Notes & quotes:Kris Humphries, who has an abdominal strain, sat out his fifth straight game. Carlesimo said Humphries is likely to return to practice Tuesday in San Antonio . . . The Nets waived Josh Childress . . . After beating two weak teams, the Nets now head out on a challenging road trip in which they will play consecutive games against San Antonio and Oklahoma City.