Kevin Ollie spoke firmly about the hustle he would demand from the Brooklyn Nets upon taking over as interim head coach. However, spirited efforts have been a rarity during his 10 games at the helm.

The Nets failed to buck that trend during Saturday's 110-99 loss to a 15-win Charlotte Hornets team on a league-worst six-game losing streak. Fueled by Cam Thomas' return, Brooklyn jumped ahead by 12 points in the first quarter but quickly surrendered the lead after he checked out. They fell behind by 11 at halftime and would never regain the lead.

Ollie's squad allowed the Hornets, who were missing leading scorer LaMelo Ball, to shoot 44-of-81 (54 percent) while gaining a 26-10 advantage in fastbreak points. Brooklyn has been outscored 131-47 in transition over six losses under the new coach, who called out his team's effort and resiliency postgame Saturday.

“I haven’t watched the tape, but my eyes don’t lie. I don’t remember us getting a single 50/50 ball, I really don’t,” Ollie said. “When shots started not going in, we didn't get back in transition. … We just have to have resolve. When shots are going in, we're fine. But when shots aren't going in, we gotta do the little things. And I tell them, it's not that we're not capable. It's are we willing to do those small things to win?”

The Nets' halfcourt defense was no step up from their transition effort. Charlotte routinely drove by Brooklyn's perimeter defenders, gaining a 56-38 advantage in points in the paint.

Miles Bridges led the Hornets with 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting, while rookie Brandon Miller added 23 on 10-of-21.

“From training camp on, the gameplan has been to contain the dribble. You can't give up straight-line drives,” Ollie added. “There's no defense in the world that can account for that. We can do shell [drill] all we want to, but straight-line drives and depending on Nic [Claxton] to block the shot, he's not Superman back there.”

“We have to do a better job keeping our man in front of us. … When you get blown by, we have to help, and that just causes a domino effect where there's open threes, there's open offensive rebounds. So we just have to do a better job in that.”

Nets' offensive woes continue despite favorable matchup

Offensively, Brooklyn struggled to get going against a bottom-three defense for the second straight game, shooting 36-of-90 from the field (40 percent) and 14-of-42 from three (33 percent) with 16 turnovers.

Thomas was the lone bright spot after returning from a six-game layoff due to an ankle sprain. The 22-year-old scored 17 first-quarter points on 7-of-8 shooting. However, he shot 5-of-16 over the final three quarters, with Charlotte frequently sending two defenders at him, finishing with 31 points.

Mikal Bridges' extended struggles continued, with the forward scoring 19 points on 6-of-18 shooting. Over Brooklyn's last 11 games, Bridges is averaging 15.9 points on 37/30/69 shooting splits.

The Nets' starting lineup was still plus-13 despite Bridges' struggles. However, with Cam Johnson (right ankle sprain) and Lonnie Walker (illness) sidelined, they got little production from a bench unit featuring Dennis Smith Jr., Day'Ron Sharpe, Jalen Wilson and Trendon Watford. The group combined for 15 points on 4-of-18 shooting with three assists and five turnovers.

The loss drops the Nets to 25-39, four and a half games back of the Atlanta Hawks for the Eastern Conference's final Play-In spot with 18 left to play. Brooklyn will be back in action Sunday, continuing a six-game road trip against the Cleveland Cavaliers.