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Hollins gets vote of confidence from King

Second-Year Coach off “Hot Seat” as Nets Top Rockets at Barclays

December 9, 2015 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Second-year head coach is a title only Lionel Hollins has held during the Nets’ tenure here in Brooklyn.

According to general manager Billy King, Hollins will get to hold on to that coveted moniker a bit longer, especially in the wake of Brooklyn’s 110-105 victory over the Houston Rockets Tuesday night in front of 13,319 paying patrons at Downtown’s Barclays Center.

“It’s funny because I think the report said it was management,” King intimated during a TV interview, referring to a rumor stirred by a Russian media outlet that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov was actively seeking Hollins’ replacement during his visit to Brooklyn, where he took in Sunday’s loss to Golden State and Tuesday’s win over the Rockets.

“I’m management so there was no truth to that,” King added. “Lionel and I are working hard every day. We’re discussing possibilities, things we can do on the court, and off the court. I’ve talked to ownership, and right now, Lionel is our coach and we’re working to try to turn this around.”

Previous Nets head coaches during the Brooklyn era — Avery Johnson, P.J. Carlesimo and Jason Kidd — never got to Year Two with the relocated franchise.

But Hollins, inked to a four-year pact following Kidd’s well-chronicled defection to Milwaukee following the 2013-14 campaign, is sticking around for the foreseeable future.

Or at least until Prokhorov and King decide otherwise.

Tuesday’s win certainly bolstered Hollins’ position as Brooklyn got 24 points from Brook Lopez, 22 out of Joe Johnson and 20 from Thaddeus Young during a searing 56 percent shooting night.

“It’s really tough to win in this league,” said Hollins, who shook off rumors of his imminent demise earlier this week. “We’ll take a win wherever, whenever.”

Bojan Bogdanovic, starting in place of injured rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, added 19 points off the bench for the Nets (6-15), who will be back at it Thursday night at home against Philadelphia.

“I thought throughout the game we played pretty good basketball,” Johnson said. “We got off to a great start, which is always good for us because we’re pretty much a young team and confidence is key for us.”

Nothing But Net: Hollins revealed that Hollis-Jefferson could miss up to 10 weeks after undergoing surgery Wednesday morning for a fractured ankle … Johnson celebrated his bobblehead night by going 9-of-15 from the floor and handing out eight assists during Tuesday’s win … Lopez became the sixth player to make his 400th career start for the Nets on Tuesday, joining Buck Williams (633), Kidd (504), Kerry Kittles (455), Richard Jefferson (417) and Jason Collins (405). Only Lopez and Collins played for both New Jersey and Brooklyn during their respective runs with the team.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had successful ankle surgery on Wednesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan by Nets’ team physician Dr. Martin O’Malley, the Nets’ foot and ankle specialist.

“Rondae had surgery this morning to repair a fracture of the posterior talus in his right ankle,” O’Malley said. “Two screws were inserted to repair the fracture. There was no other structural damage, and he is expected to make a complete recovery, with a timetable of his return to the court estimated at 8-10 weeks.”


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