The Brooklyn Nets guard continued his torrid scoring streak on Tuesday with a 43-point game in a 116-112 loss to the Phoenix Suns. The effort was his third straight with 40-plus points after dropping 44 against the Washington Wizards on Saturday and 47 against the Los Angeles Clippers Monday night. He got to 40 on Tuesday with a layup in the game's final 12 seconds and scored Brooklyn's last three points from there.
CAM THOMAS HAS 40 PTS 🗣️
11.3 seconds remain on TNT! pic.twitter.com/MEup1avI1F
— NBA (@NBA) February 8, 2023
Thomas entered Tuesday averaging 9.5 points in 15.2 minutes per game.
Thomas makes NBA history
All three outbursts arrived since Kyrie Irving requested and was subsequently granted a trade out of Brooklyn. Thomas has taken on an increased role in his absence and is making the absolute most of it, along with some history in the process.
His performance on Tuesday made Thomas the youngest player in NBA history to score 40-plus points in three straight games. He's 21 years, 117 days old. He's the only Nets player to achieve the feat since the team joined the NBA in 1976. Rick Barry pulled it off in 1972 when the Nets were in the ABA. This is a franchise that recently featured both Irving and James Harden and still boasts Kevin Durant.
Unfortunately for the Nets, it wasn't enough to beat the Suns, who walked away on Tuesday with a win in Devin Booker's return from injury. But Thomas is giving the Nets hope that they've stashed a hidden gem on the bench for the past two seasons. He's certainly earned a larger role, even with the pending addition of Spencer Dinwiddie from the Irving trade and the anticipated return of Durant from injury.
Like he did on Monday, Thomas came out of the gates hot en route to 24 points at halftime. He cooled off after an 8-of-13 first-half shooting effort that included 3 of 5 from 3-point distance. He was stuck on 30 late in the fourth quarter. But Thomas scored 13 points in the game's final 90 seconds, a span that included five trips to the free-throw line as the Suns fouled in an effort to prevent Brooklyn from shooting 3-pointers.
Thomas finished the night shooting 11 of 23 from the field including 3 of 9 from 3-point distance while doing significant damage at the stripe on an 18-of-20 free-throw effort. He played a team-high 39 minutes.
Dinwiddie and fellow former Maverick Dorian Finney-Smith are expected to join the lineup soon, where they'll eat into Thomas' sudden surge in playing time. Just don't expect Thomas to see 15 minutes per game again any time soon.