With Cam Thomas and David Duke Jr. combining for 49 points, the Nets won their fifth and final Summer League game in Las Vegas, 102-95, to finish with a 3-2 record.
For Thomas, who scored 25, the performance ensured the 20-year-old would walk away from Thomas & Mack Center with the best average ever for a Summer League player. After averaging 27 points per game last season in four games, Thomas put up 27.4 points this season. That’s the highest average for a Summer League player playing more than two games, besting Damian Lillard who put up 26.5 his rookie season.
Thomas had only five points at the end of the first half, but once again picked it up as the game went on. He had nine points in the third and a whopping 14 in the fourth. As ESPN’s John Schiffren noted, Thomas began the game as a facilitator, then switched to primary scorer. He finished with six assists.
“Yeah, I just wanted to get my teammates involved,” said Thomas of his first-half. “The way Boston was packing it in on me, wanted me to pass it out to my players. So I wanted to take advantage of that. Second half, it opened up for me going to the paint, get to the line, get some layups.
“Just wanted to keep working on my game, become an all around player. Just wanted to do what my coach wanted me to do in the off-season.”
Thomas relied on his usual repertoire of acrobatic drives, hesitations and floaters, taking only one 3-pointer which he missed. He finished 10-of-20 overall.
For Duke, it was another solid all-around effort. He finished with 24 points on 9-of-16 overall including 1-of-3 from three, adding five assists and five rebounds along with a steal and a block. The 6’5” Providence product is hoping to land a standing NBA contract after playing on a two-way deal last season. He has not hurt himself in Las Vegas. In five games, Duke averaged 19.0 points a game as well as four points and four assists while playing his signature defense.
Indeed, an electrifying second quarter dunk was the game highlight...
Duke said that better finishing at the rim has been an off-season priority for him and the Nets coaching staff.
“Coming into this off-season, I made sure it a priority to work on,” said Duke of his finishing capability. “Credit to the coaching staff. They’ve done a great job. I’ve been working with them the last couple of months, really working a lot around the rim, shooting, just my overall game.”
Duke also met Boston’s 6’10” Mifundu Kabengele at the rim in the third...
Brooklyn doesn’t have to decide on whether to convert Duke immediately, but other teams, most notably Toronto, have been eyeing Duke who is a restricted free agent.
The Nets two other rookies, Kessler Edwards and Day’Ron Sharpe, both had good games as well. Edwards hit 3-of-4 from beyond the arc to finish with 15 points, giving him a 10.2 average in Summer League. He shot 47.4 percent from deep. Sharpe had a 10 and 10 double-double. In his five games, Sharpe averaged 12.8 points and 10.0 rebounds. He also did well against Kabengele who after the game the Celtics announced they had signed to a two-way deal.
The Nets opened sluggishly and were down early but after head coach Adam Caporn called a first quarter timeout, the team took off on an 11-0 run. From that point on, it was a tight one but with Thomas supplying the firepower in the fourth, the Nets got the lead up to 10 points late and coasted home. Brooklyn, who had been troubled by turnovers early in league play, had only 11 Saturday. They also weren’t pulling the trigger as often from deep and finished shooting 43.8 percent on 3-pointers.
The Knicks and Trailblazers play for the Summer League championship Sunday.
- Box Score: Brooklyn Nets 102, Boston Celtics 95 - NBA
- Game Highlights: Brooklyn Nets 102, Boston Celtics 95 (Video) - NBA
- Three Takeaways From The Nets Summer League Experience - Steve Lichtenstein - Steve’s Newsletter
- Nets 2022 Summer League takeaways, including Cam Thomas’ dominance in Vegas - David Vertsberger - SNY