Cam Thomas returned to the court on Thursday night, marking his first game action in 22 days. Thomas, who had been nursing a sprained left ankle, dropped 26 points on 11-21 shooting. However, Thomas did not play down the stretch. Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn told the media after the game that the 22-year-old was on a minutes restriction.
Thomas' minutes restriction proved to be very costly, as Brooklyn fell 129-128 to the LaMelo Ball-less Charlotte Hornets. Cam Johnson had a chance to win it for the Nets in a wild sequence as time expired but missed a wide-open three.
Johnson's serious struggles continued, as he scored just 15 points on 18 shots. The young Net signed a four-year, $108 contract extension this offseason (a bigger contract than Knicks star Jalen Brunson, who dropped 42 on Thursday night) but has dramatically underachieved this fall.
Mikal Bridges also struggled scoring just 22 points on 22 shots.
The Nets defense got throttled by a bad Charlotte team
They call him Scary Terry for a reason. Terry Rozier scored 37 points (seven of nine from three) with 13 assists. Miles Bridges dropped 23 on the Nets, and Gordon Hayward dropped 22. At this stage of each of those player's careers, it's unacceptable for Brooklyn to give up those stat lines.
The Hornets were 20th in scoring this season entering Thursday night's game but managed to drop 73 in the first half, including 42 in the second quarter.
The Nets roster Nic Claxton, Dorian Finney-Smith, Mikal Bridges, and Cam Johnson, all thought of as elite defenders, but couldn't stop Charrlotte. That is a big concern, and Brooklyn must immediately fix their defensive woes.
Brooklyn has a brutal December schedule, and will open the month hosting the red-hot Orlando Magic on Saturday night.