East Rutherford, N.J. - Players hugged at center court. Fans stood and cheered as music blared through the arena.
Finally, the New Jersey Nets got to experience that winning feeling again.
The Nets won for the first time this season, ending the worst start in NBA history at 18 losses by beating the Charlotte Bobcats, 97-91, on Friday night.
Brook Lopez had 31 points and 14 rebounds, and Courtney Lee scored a career-high 27 points in his return to the starting lineup for the Nets in their first game under Kiki Vandeweghe, their general manager who will coach the rest of the season.
“For me, I was happy for the players,” Vandeweghe said. “This has been a bit of a struggle. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It was tough – tough on everybody.”
New Jersey trailed by as many as eight points during the third quarter before controlling the fourth to end any fears of flirting with the NBA’s longest single-season losing streak of 23 games, held by the Vancouver Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets.