NCAA Tournament, Knicks, Nets, Rose

Cam Thomas shines outside of Nets trade drama

Outside of the trade debacles with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, Cam Thomas has been outstanding and playing significantly well for the Nets. He scored 40+ points in three of his last four games and there are no signs of slowing down for Thomas.

Thomas became the youngest player in the NBA at 21 years old to score 40 points for three straight games and the first player in Nets history to do so. With Brooklyn looking to do a complete rebuild toward the future, Thomas might be their next superstar.

The Nets were able to take a win against the Washington Wizards, 125- 123. The Nets came back from a 23-point deficit where Thomas scored a season-high 43 points. The Nets were without Irving due to “calf soreness” after reports of a trade request. The Nets were also without Durant, Simmons, Seth Curry and Markieff Morris due to injuries.

The Nets allowed the Wizards to go on a run early in the first quarter and struggled to catch up as they trailed 44-25 at the end of the first quarter. The Nets could not make their shots as Kristaps Porzingis helped Washington garner a large lead for the Wizards by the end of the quarter. The Nets tried to cut the deficit in the second quarter, but it was not enough as the Wizards piled on their lead and went up by as much as 23 points. However, Thomas was able to rally the Nets in a second-half comeback and take down the Wizards in a very close victory.

For Brooklyn, Thomas ended with 44 points, five assists and five rebounds off the bench. Edmond Summer started and finished with a career-high of 29 points, and Claxton had 15 points and 13 rebounds. Porzingis had 38 points for the Wizards. Monte Morris had 18 points, and Deni Avdija had 23 points and six steals off the bench.

Despite breaking his season-high of 43 points and then his 47 points against the Los Angeles Clippers, Thomas could not rally the Nets toward a victory as they lost 124-116. The Clippers were able to mount a comeback late in the game to get the win. Both teams fought hard throughout the game, with the biggest lead being two 11-point leads by the Clippers in the second quarter, but in the third quarter, both were quickly erased. The Nets cut the first big lead by the Clippers with a 3-pointer by Royce O’Neal and a four-point opportunity by Thomas, along with an additional 3-pointer to cut their deficit to one.

The Clippers went on another offensive run in the third quarter to go up by 11 points again, but Thomas, Summer, and Nic Claxton were able to get opportunities at the line to cut their lead back down to two points. Brooklyn was able to gain a four-point lead, but the Clippers were able to surge a comeback thanks to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to create a large enough lead to get the victory.

Thomas ended his first start this season with the Nets with a career-high 47 points as he shot 7-of-11 from the 3-point line. He also grabbed four rebounds and dished out three assists. Summer scored 23 points, while Claxton finished with 15 and 16 rebounds. George had 29 points on 50% shooting, Leonard had 26 points, and Ivica Zubac had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Clippers in their victory over the Nets.

In his return with the Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker was able to help give the Suns a victory over the Nets in his first game since his groin injury. Regardless of Thomas carrying the offense for the Nets with another 40-plus point game, ending with 43 points, it was not enough to take down the Suns. Thomas was able to gain most of his points from the free-throw line late in the game, but the Nets could not cut the lead well enough and fell to the Suns.

Spencer Dinwiddie showed out in his return to Brooklyn after being traded from the Mavericks for Irving. He put on a show as Brooklyn was able to grab a 116-105 win over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday. The Nets broke a two-game losing streak that night, going on a tremendous fourth-quarter run led by Dinwiddie and Yuta Watanabe in a 20-6 scoring run. The team was competitive and looked alive despite losing Irving and Durant. The newly acquired Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson from the Phoenix Suns trade arrived in Brooklyn but did not play that evening.

Dinwiddie had 25 points, five rebounds and six assists in his first game back with Brooklyn, with Thomas behind him with 20 points. Joe Harris had a great game off the bench with 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the 3-point line, with Watanabe garnering 14 points off the bench on 4-of-5 shooting from the 3-point line. Zach Lavine’s 38 points, along with Nikola Vucevic’s 15 points and 17 rebounds, were not enough to contain the Nets and get a win.

The Brooklyn Nets are doing a full rebuild and only time will tell when they will be playoff contenders again. However, the lack of star power with the loss of Irving and Durant will continue them, especially not a young and enthusiastic Cam Thomas. Thomas has been the upside that Nets fans need at this time, and it could be sooner rather than later that the Nets become playoff contenders again if Thomas can put out consistent numbers and the Nets can build off of that.

The readdition of Spencer Dinwiddie has been positive as well, and we will see how the addition of Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson will affect the team. It looks like Brooklyn have a great core around them in Thomas, Dinwiddie, Watanabe, and Harris, along with Bridges and Johnson in that core could mean good things for the Nets’ future.