Cam Thomas’ heroics help snap Nets Home losing streak

Cam Thomas Brooklyn Nets
Jan 9, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Cam Thomas (24) shoots over San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl (25) for a three point shot attempt in the fourth quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t pretty, but as head coach Steve Nash put a win is a win. And the Nets needed one in a bad way at home.

Now they can head off to Portland with a little bit of that weight off their shoulders after they snapped their five-game home losing streak in a 121-119 win over the San Antonio Spurs at Barclays Center. It was the heroics of Cam Thomas who hit the game-winning shot in overtime with 1.4 seconds on the clock.

Kevin Durant tried to drive towards the net, but drew two defenders onto him, and instead kicked the ball back out to Thomas. The Nets rookie was able to get into the paint and let a floater go that dropped to put Brooklyn ahead.

“It’s crazy kinda to be a part of a team with so many great players. Basically legends of the game and for them to have trust in me to go in there, and make that kind of shot in this kind of game that’s kind of surreal,” Thomas said. “You want to keep building on it and just keep working.”

As special as the moment was for Thomas, it was an important win for the Nets, who had lost five straight at home entering the afternoon and have found themselves in a slump of late.  Sunday’s effort was a mixed bag of what has ailed the Nets over their slump and the championship-caliber team that they’re expected to be.

Kevin Durant put up 28 points for the Nets, along with 6 assists and 3 blocks. James Harden had 26 points of his own and Nic Claxton added 16 points. Thomas had 11 points in 30 minutes of work off the bench.

As a team, the Nets turned the ball over 22 times and struggled to find the killer instinct to put the Spurs away. The Nets allowed two leads to slip away in the second half of the game, which included 10 point lead late in the fourth quarter that let San Antonio force the extra period.

“Uneven game. 22 turnovers I think really hurt our defense,” Nash said. “Having said that I think our defense stepped back up in a more positive territory. Lots of good things, lots of good stretches and we absorbed a pretty good game. They had some guys make some big plays and weathered all the turnovers we had that limited our opportunities, but also crushed our defense.”

The Nets managed to jump out to an early lead, but Lonnie Walker IV single-handedly pulled the Spurs even with the Nets in the first quarter, which eventually led to a seven-point lead in the second quarter. However, That’s when Brooklyn turned things around and went on a 21-6 run to end the half and held the Spurs to just 19 points in the second quarter.

The Nets defense disappeared once again in the third, when San Antonio dropped 38 points and erased a 14 point deficit. Brooklyn rebuilt their lead in the fourth led by Harden and were up 111-99 with 6:40 left in the game, but San Antonio again clawed back to even the score.

The Spurs went on a 14-2 run to tie the game at 113, which was capped by a game-tying three-pointer by Joshua Primo with 40.2 seconds left.

“They was able to get back into the game, get some confidence from knocking down threes and a three-pointer will keep you in a game,” Durant said. “You make a few of those you just getting confidence. I don’t expect to just walk in and see who is on the roster and be like ‘alright we’re supposed to beat them by 40.’ We know it’s going to be a tougher game sometimes. A trap game sometimes. A noon game, so it was a challenge for us. It’s different challenges each game. We figure out what they are and fight through them and get better.”