Nets guard Ben Simmons throws a long pass in the...

Nets guard Ben Simmons throws a long pass in the first half of an NBA game against the Hornets on Monday in Charlotte, N.C. Credit: AP/Erik Verduzco

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Ben Simmons snared his first rebound and quickly turned around to throw an outlet pass to Spencer Dinwiddie for a layup — and the Nets didn’t stop running after that.

Their transition offense, which appeared in bursts during the first two games, ran full speed in the first quarter on Monday night, with Simmons setting the tempo. It continued in the second half as the Nets opened with layups on consecutive Hornets turnovers.

The Nets crossed the finish line with a 133-121 win, giving them their first win after two losses. It was the ideal version of an offense led by Simmons pushing the tempo.

With Simmons dishing out three early assists, the Nets took a 15-2 lead. They led by 21 at one point, and Mikal Bridges ended the quarter by racing upcourt and draining a three-pointer.

Thanks to 17 fast-break points in the quarter, the Nets led 42-23.

“It shows we can get up a lot of shots and get good shots,” said Simmons, who had 11 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

“That’s going to be a priority of mine. Just get out and run, push the ball and push the pace and find my guys.”

The Nets were sloppier in the second quarter, committing six turnovers, but even then, they were a step ahead of the Hornets (1-2).

With the Nets’ lead cut to 62-55, Dorian Finney-Smith shot an air ball, but Dennis Smith Jr. hustled to the floor to secure an offensive rebound. Smith then passed to Cam Thomas, who was fouled on a three-point attempt.

The Nets led 66-55 at halftime. After the Hornets closed within 83-75 with 5:46 left in the third period, the Nets pushed the lead back to double digits the rest of the game.

“To put up that amount of points, over 20 assists, to be able to share the basketball, to impose our will with our pace, it’s definitely how we’re built to play,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “Now it takes an extreme amount of commitment on a nightly basis to play this way.”

Finney-Smith had 19 points, including his second consecutive game with four three-pointers. Thomas continued his torrid scoring with 33 points. The 22-year-old became the youngest player in NBA history since Shaquille O’Neal in 1993 to start a season with three games of at least 30 points.

Bridges had 24 points and seven rebounds, his best game after a slow start. Besides shooting 10-for-13 from the field, he held Hornets guard LaMelo Ball to 3-for-12 shooting.

The Nets finished with 28 fast-break points and played tighter perimeter defense. Despite giving up 74 points in the paint with Nic Claxton sidelined, the Nets held the Hornets to 8-for-31 three-point shooting after giving up 17 and 15 three-pointers in the first two games.

But like most speeding cars, the Nets suffered a blown tire. Dinwiddie sat out the second half because of a sprained left ankle. His status for Wednesday’s game against the Heat is in question, and Cam Johnson will miss at least 10 more days with a strained calf.

Lonnie Walker IV started the second half in Dinwiddie’s place and finished with 19 points and five rebounds.

Three starters hurt in three games isn’t a good start. Yet the Nets may have found something good playing in the gear they hoped to be with Simmons running the show.

“It’s just figuring out how he plays,” Thomas said. “He’s playing fast, up-tempo . . . so the main thing is that we just got to run and we know he’s going to find us.”

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