Things are going so well for the Brooklyn Nets that even with nine available players, they can eke out a win.
More players, including star Kevin Durant, are expected to be available on Monday when the Nets attempt to keep the good times rolling in their visit to the Washington Wizards.
Brooklyn is 7-1 in its past eight games, with six wins coming by single digits.
Cam Thomas came off the bench to score 21 of his career-high 33 points during Brooklyn’s 41-point fourth quarter in a 136-133 comeback victory over the host Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.
Thomas was able to capitalize on 29 minutes of play because of who did not suit up.
Durant was rested for the first time this season after scoring 34 points in a four-point win over Atlanta. Kyrie Irving sat out with an abductor injury and Brooklyn’s other three starters from Friday sat out on Saturday. Royce O’Neale missed the game due to personal reasons, Ben Simmons sat out after returning from missing four games with a calf injury and Joe Harris sat due to injury management on the heels of offseason surgery on his ankle.
Brooklyn also held out Seth Curry and T.J. Warren for injury management purposes, especially since Warren missed nearly two years recovering from foot injuries before his season debut Dec. 2. Nic Claxton also sat out a second straight game with a hamstring injury.
Patty Mills contributed 24 points on Saturday after sitting out seven straight games. Edmond Sumner added 21 points and Day’Ron Sharpe produced a double-double with 20 and 12 rebounds. Those outings allowed the Nets to erase a 14-point deficit midway through the third quarter and a nine-point deficit in the final seven-plus minutes.
“There was no hesitation, we came here to win,” Brooklyn coach Jacque Vaughn said. “When you believe you can win the game, it goes a long way.”
After scoring its most points all season and securing 29 offensive rebounds, Brooklyn’s lineup likely will return to some semblance of normalcy.
The Wizards are hoping to deliver a better showing against Brooklyn, especially on their home court. Washington shot 36.1 percent in its 128-86 loss to the Nets on Nov. 4 and then missed 18 of 24 3-point tries in its 113-107 loss at Brooklyn on Nov. 30.
The loss in Brooklyn is part of Washington’s current 1-9 slide. The Wizards lost their sixth straight game on Saturday after allowing 19 3-pointers in a 114-107 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Clippers.
Kyle Kuzma scored 35 points and Kristaps Porzingis added 30 on Saturday. Porzingis, however, missed a tying 3-pointer with 17.1 seconds remaining before Washington committed a flagrant foul.
“Guys are playing a lot of minutes, and there’s a fatigue factor for sure,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “It’s not an excuse. We’ve got to make some of these plays.”
Like the Nets, Washington also was shorthanded as Bradley Beal missed a third straight game with a hamstring strain that may keep him out again Monday. Also missing were Will Barton (foot), Rui Hachimura (ankle), Monte Morris (groin) and Delon Wright (hamstring), who are not expected to play Monday.
–Field Level Media