The Brooklyn Nets’ 112-100 road win over the Washington Wizards on Monday lifted them into fourth place overall in the Eastern Conference with a record of 17-12. It was a positive way for the Nets to begin a three-day break without having to play before challenging the Toronto Raptors tomorrow in the third game of a four-game road trip. They’ll end it facing the Detroit Pistons on Sunday. The Nets have won eight of their last nine games and four in a row.
Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn had his regular starting lineup versus the Wizards after winning the previous game against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday by 136-133 with an opening five of forwards Markieff Morris and Kessler Edwards, center Day’Ron Sharpe, and guards Patty Mills and Edmond Sumner. They had eight players sit out including Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons.
Thomas, in his second-year in the NBA out of LSU, whom the Nets drafted with the 27th pick in the first round last year, came off the bench to score a team-high 33 points in just 29 minutes. Vaughn had alerted Thomas beforehand of his plan. “You’ll probably get a lot of minutes tonight,” he informed the 6-foot-4 shooting guard.
“…I trusted him,” Vaughn said of the 21-year-old who was born in Japan and raised in Chesapeake, Virginia. His lineup decisions paid off. In addition to Thomas, Sharpe added 20 with 12 rebounds, Mills 24, Sumner 21 and Morris 15 points and 11 rebounds. The Nets dominated the glass, nearly doubling the Pacers in rebounds 59-30.
“I was very impressed with the guys that played for them,” said Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle after the game. “These guys played hard. They were aggressive. They were fearless. They attacked, and they earned the win.”
Irving explained the team’s mindset in turning around their early season issues. “Let’s just go win ball games. That’s it. That’s really what the attitude is,” he said. “We know the talent we have. This is our group. No more excuses. No more distractions.”
The Nets will return to Brooklyn to host the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday and the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, Dec. 23.