NBA: Behind Cam Thomas, depleted Nets storm back to edge Pacers

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Cam Thomas Brooklyn Nets NBA

FILE – Cam Thomas #24 of the Brooklyn Nets brings the ball up court against the Charlotte Hornets in the fourth quarter during their game at Spectrum Center on November 05, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images/AFP

Cam Thomas scored 21 of his career-high 33 points in the fourth quarter as the undermanned Brooklyn Nets rallied down the stretch for a 136-133 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night in Indianapolis.

Playing their first back-to-back in nearly two weeks, the Nets were without stars Kevin Durant (rest) and Kyrie Irving (adductor). Brooklyn also rested Ben Simmons after he returned from a four-game absence because of a calf injury and sat T.J. Warren (injury management), Seth Curry (left ankle), Nic Claxton (hamstring) and Royce O’Neale (personal).

Thomas entered averaging 6.1 points per game but seized the opportunity to play major minutes. He made 13 of 20 shots and 8 of 11 in the fourth when the Nets scored 41 points and shot 75 percent (15-for-20).

Patty Mills added a season-best 24 points after sitting for seven straight games, Edmond Sumner added 21 and Day’Ron Sharpe contributed 20 along with 12 rebounds as the Nets shot 52 percent and grabbed 59 rebounds, including 29 offensive boards.

Tyrese Haliburton collected 35 points (7-for-8 from 3-point range) and nine assists, but Indiana was unable to expand its 14-point lead midway through the third. Buddy Hield added 17 points and Myles Turner contributed 16 as the Pacers shot 55.3 percent.

Thomas helped the Nets end their seventh win in eight games on a 28-16 run. He hit a basket that forged a 122-122 deadlock with 3:09 remaining and sunk two more short jumpers as Brooklyn took a 132-124 lead with 53.7 seconds remaining.

Despite appearing to secure the game on Thomas’ final shot, the Nets held on in the final minute.

Sumner fouled Haliburton on a 3-point try with 27.3 seconds left. After officials ruled Sumner did not commit a reckless closeout, Haliburton made three free throws to make it 134-130.

Mills split a pair at the foul line for a 135-130 lead with 20.3 seconds left and Hield’s 3-pointer made it a two-point game with 15.2 seconds to go. After officials confirmed Hield’s foot was behind the line, Sumner split two free throws with 6.4 seconds remaining and the game ended when Andrew Nembhard missed a 3-point try over Thomas just before the horn.

After Indiana held a 76-69 lead at halftime, Haliburton’s 3 opened a 94-80 lead with 6:26 left in the third, but the Pacers settled for a 100-95 edge going into the fourth. The Nets forged a 105-105 deadlock a little over two minutes into the fourth and the Pacers countered with a 12-3 run for a 117-108 lead on Turner’s trey with 7:14 left before Brooklyn stormed back.

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