Cam Thomas wasn’t the only Nets rookie who played well in Sunday’s overtime victory over the Spurs.
While Thomas sank the game-winning bucket with 1.7 seconds left in OT, rookie teammates Kessler Edwards, Day’Ron Sharpe and recent starter David Duke Jr. also earned significant minutes in a revamped rotation by Brooklyn coach Steve Nash.
Sharpe scored five of his seven points and Edwards sank two key 3-pointers in the second half. Duke finished with six points and five rebounds while making his third consecutive start.
“I thought they all did a good job. We’re in that position where we believe in those guys but they need time to really develop and play,” Nash said. “We’ve got other guys that are deserving of minutes, too, so we’ve got so many guys that are at a similar level of ability and play.
“It’s a tough road to work through but we’re trying to give those guys a little bit of an opportunity and they did well.”
Nash didn’t play Bruce Brown, Paul Millsap or Jevon Carter at all on Sunday, while veterans Blake Griffin (8:22) and James Johnson (7:55) were used sparingly as the Nets began a stretch of four games in five days, including a Monday night COVID makeup game in Portland, with unvaccinated All-Star Kyrie Irving back in the lineup.
Kevin Durant said he’s “excited” that former Warriors teammate Klay Thompson made his first NBA appearance Sunday since the 2019 playoffs after suffering serious knee and Achilles injuries.
“I know it’s a huge, huge day out there in the Bay Area. It’s gonna be electric in there today,” Durant said. “Talking to Klay over the last couple years, you could just feel it through text messages how excited he is to get back on the floor. I know every basketball fan is gonna be tuned in, so I’m looking forward to his return and a healthy rest of the season and rest of his career as well. I’m glad he’s back.”
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich used to say about former Spurs star Tim Duncan, “No Duncan, no championships.” He said something similar when asked Sunday what it was like to coach Durant at the Olympics: “No Kevin, no gold.”
LaMarcus Aldridge sat out for the second time in four games due to a sore foot.
“I don’t think it’s that serious,” Nash said. “I think he’s got some irritation and we’re just trying to get it behind him. I think it’s a short-term injury.”
The Blazers will be without Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Norman Powell on Monday due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols.