Cam Thomas outscored the Nets’ entire starting five on Friday night at Utah, which is wonderful news for the improving rookie guard, but terrible news for the rest of the plummeting supposed title contenders.
Thomas netted 30 points in 31 minutes off the Nets’ bench, two more than the combined total by the starting unit — without stars Kevin Durant (knee) and James Harden (hamstring) — in a blowout 125-102 loss to the Jazz. It was the Nets’ seventh straight defeat entering their game Sunday at Denver.
“You always want to win with it. It’s good to get a little accolade here and there but it doesn’t mean nothing because we lost by 30, as well,” said Thomas, whose previous high was 25 points on Jan. 26 against the Nuggets. “So I’d rather have the win and accolade, but it’s always good to have a little accolade like that in your rookie year.”
Kyrie Irving scored 15 points on 6-for-20 shooting, Patty Mills netted 11 and James Johnson had two. Nic Claxton, who played just five minutes due to a hamstring issue, and rookie Kessler Edwards were held scoreless.
Thomas, the 27th-overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, became the second-youngest player (20 years, 114 days) in franchise history to record a 30-point game. Cliff Robinson (19 years, 362 days) scored 45 points in one game in March 1980.
Asked if he’d consider inserting the 20-year-old Thomas in the starting lineup, coach Steve Nash replied: “I suppose anything is possible depending on who’s available. We’ll see who’s available and we’ll see how it goes over the next few days and games but whether you start him or he comes off the bench, he’s still going to be plenty of minutes and plenty of looks.”
Harden and Claxton have been listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Nuggets. Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge (ankle) remain out.