At least something went right for the Nets Tuesday night.
On a drama-filled day that included finding out that the team was going to be without rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson for the next 10 weeks, the Nets hung on for a rare win, defeating the Houston Rockets, 110-105, at the Barclays Center.
The Nets are now 6-15, with two of their six wins coming against the Rockets. All five of the Nets starters scored in double figures, which is exactly the sort of group effort the team is going to need if they are to keep afloat while Hollis-Jefferson is out with a broken ankle.
Brook Lopez led the Nets with 24 points and eight rebounds, Joe Johnson added 22 with eight assists and Thaddeus Young finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Bojan Bogdanovic, who had been mired in a major slump, scored 17. Jarret Jack scored just 10 but made a huge rebound off a Bogdanovic miss with 10 seconds left and then hit two free throws when he was fouled to put the game away.
The Nets had 24 turnovers and the Rockets had 23. James Harden was held to a season-low 10 points. The Rockets’ Marcus Thornton led all scorers with 32 points, including 17 straight in the final quarter. Corey Brewer added 22.
The Rockets team that entered Tuesday night’s game had been playing much better than the one that the Nets defeated, 106-98, on Nov. 11. The Rockets came into the game having won three straight and five of their last six. A major reason had been the play of James Harden, who had averaged 31.6 points in his last 10.
It was an important game for Bogdanovic, who hadn’t scored in double figures since scoring 15 points in a loss to Sacramento Nov. 13. The Rockets, in fact, seem to bring out the best in Bogdanovic who scored a season high 22 in the Nets win against them in November. Between that game and this one, however, Bogdanovic had averaged just 5.75 points in 12 games.
Hollins admitted before the game that the slump was a perplexing.
“It’s hard to describe why guys go in slumps,” Hollins said. “He’s had some shots and hasn’t made them. He’s had some opportunities that he’s turned down. It’s a lot of factors that go into being in slumps. I can’t get inside an individual’s head.”
Before the game, Nets general manager Billy King said that, contrary to a published report in a Russian newspaper, Hollins’ job is not in jeopardy.
“It’s funny because the report said it was management, and I’m management so there was no truth to that,” King told Sarah Kustok of the YES Network on the pregame show. “Lionel and I are working hard every day . . . I’ve talked to ownership and right now, Lionel is our coach and we’re working to try to turn this around.”
Part of turning it around could involve tinkering with the roster, which will become easier to do after December 15 when free agents signed this past of season become eligible to be traded.
“We’re going to explore our options out there, and see if there’s other players we need to make a deal to bring guys in,” King said. “But we’re going to give this group a chance until we find another option.”