Rapid Reaction: Nets 97, Bobcats 81

WHAT IT MEANS: The P.J. Carlesimo era is off to a nice start.

In his first game as interim head coach, Carlesimo’s Brooklyn Nets handed the free-falling Charlotte Bobcats their 17th consecutive loss, 97-81, on Friday night at Barclays Center.

Carlesimo took over for Avery Johnson, who was fired on Thursday. The Nets (15-14) had lost five of their previous six, but improved to 4-10 in December.

The Nets played as a cohesive unit on offense, getting easy buckets off set plays in the half-court.

Owner Mikhail Prokhorov was in attendance, having left a heli-skiing vacation in Canada early to be there.

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? Deron Williams, the struggling $98 million point guard who came in shooting a career-low 39.8 percent from the field, returned after missing Wednesday night’s game with a bruised right wrist to pour in 19 points on 7-for-4 shooting in 29 minutes.

D-Will scored more points in the first half (17) than he had in his previous five games. Sure it came against the Bobcats, but where has this type of effort been all season? D-Will, who was aggressive and looked confident all-game long, did appear to tweak his right ankle on a drive to the basket in first quarter.

BROOK-LYN: Brook Lopez also erupted to score 26 points and grab a season-high tying 11 rebounds in 27 minutes. It was his sixth double-double of the season and team-leading 10th 20-point outing.

MARKSMAN: Keith Bogans is 12-for-18 from 3-point range over the last five games and went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc on Friday night.

FIRST QUARTER EXPLOSION: The Nets shot 55 percent in the first quarter and led 33-15 after the opening 12 minutes. The 18-point lead at the end of the first tied their largest of the season (Nov. 11 vs. Orlando, 35-17). Lopez had 12 points, five rebounds and three blocks in the first alone. D-Will added nine on eight shot attempts -- one more than had in the entire Boston Celtics blowout Tuesday.

UP NEXT: Nets vs. Cavaliers on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.