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Nets player grades: Cam Thomas drops 18 in 101-86 loss at Timberwolves

The Brooklyn Nets visited the Target Center on Saturday to face the Minnesota Timberwolves and lost 101-86.

For the Nets, Cam Thomas had 18 points and six rebounds while Mikal Bridges had 15 points and eight assists. Nic Claxton had 12 points and Dorian Finney-Smith had 11 points.

For the Timberwolves, Anthony Edwards had 29 points and eight rebounds while Karl-Anthony Towns had 28 points and nine rebounds. Mike Conley had 14 points and Kyle Anderson had 12 points.

In the first half, it was clear that this game was going to be more of a defensive game than it was an offensive one. What was disappointing to see was how much the Nets were struggling to build a sizable lead despite Anthony Edwards for just eight points on 4-of-11 shooting from the field in the half.

In the second half, Minnesota continued to edge Brooklyn over the course of the last two quarters as the Nets could not find a solution to limiting Karl-Anthony Towns. However, in the fourth quarter, the Nets lost a grip on this game as Edwards started to heat up in the period and once he got going, the Timberwolves did not look back.

Here are your Nets player grades following Saturday’s loss:

Ben Simmons: Incomplete

While Simmons did not shoot the ball well in this one, including some terrible misses right at the rim with minimal defensive pressure, he did show the effort that he was talking about during the Nets’ shootaround earlier in the day. Simmons did a great job of applying pressure on the ball and it led to a few steals and some transition points for Brooklyn. One thing that has been evident over the past couple of games is that the Nets have to find a way to surround Simmons with four shooters at all times or the offense stalls. Heading into the fourth quarter, Simmons was ruled out for the rest of this game due to left leg soreness.

Cam Thomas: C+

Thomas had a solid game for the Nets in this one as he was one of the main sources of offense for the team as usual. It will be interesting to see the day when Thomas can get the ball at the top of the key, get a screen, and be able to build up some speed so that he can get downhill easier than within the offenses normal offensive scheme. He did a great job of rebounding and he gave more effort than usual on the defensive end of the floor despite some significant mismatches.

Mikal Bridges: C+

Bridges had a rough offensive game for the Nets in this contest after being unable to get anything to go from behind the three-point line. When you take out his three-point attempts, Bridges actually had a solid offensive game in the mid-range, which has not always been the case this season. He did a solid job of rebounding the basketball and he was racking up assists left and right due to how well he was seeing the court in this one.

Dorian Finney-Smith: B-

Finney-Smith had a decent game in this one as his three-point shot was still off. Finney-Smith has not been shooting the ball well lately, but the good thing was that he was trying to make some kind of offensive impact from inside the three-point line and it may be something for him to look to do moving forward. Finney-Smith did a great job of rebounding the basketball and his defense was solid when he had to guard anyone other than Karl-Anthony Towns.

Nic Claxton: B

Claxton had a solid game on both ends of the floor for the Nets in this one as he was taking advantage of the fact that Rudy Gobert did not play in this game due to injury. Claxton, who’s main offensive skill is as a lob threat, made that work for him on multiple occasions over the course of this game thanks to Minnesota not having anyone big enough to fully take that away. Claxton usually has more of a presence in the rebounding department, but he also did pick up a good amount of assists, mostly due to how much he has to switch on defense and trying to create space on offense.

Cam Johnson: C

Johnson came off the bench again and when he was asked about his new bench role, he did not seem happy at all. Over the course of this game, he did not shoot the ball in the way that would have given interim head coach Kevin Ollie confidence that he made the wrong decision by benching Johnson. All things considered, Johnson shot the ball well from three-point range, but his game attacking the rim can use some work.

Dennis Schröder: D

Schröder did not have a particularly efficient game on the offensive end despite taking some shots that he can make. It became clear that Schröder was trying to make something happen on the offensive end as Brooklyn struggled offensively for the entire game, especially from three-point land. To Schröder’s credit, he did a great job of competing on the defensive end of the floor and trying to make something pop in that aspect.

Day'Ron Sharpe: C

Sharpe had a solid outing in this one despite the limited minutes that he played due to Kevin Ollie trying to figure out how to surround Ben Simmons with as many shooters as possible when he’s on the floor. Sharpe did a good job of finishing at the rim when he didn’t have too much traffic in his way, but this game also showed that when he gets contact, he tends to lose focus on what to do following that contact. Sharpe did a great job of rebounding the basketball and he played with a lot of energy throughout his short stints.

Lonnie Walker IV: D

Walker had a rough night as he couldn’t get anything to go from anywhere on the floor despite getting some good looks from deep. Walker has had times this season where he has been red-hot, but he has also had times where he was cold and this was one of those outings. During his time on the floor, Walker did a good job of passing the ball, but other than that, this was another rough game for him coming off the bench.

Dennis Smith Jr.: C-

Smith had a poor outing in this one as he couldn’t get anything to go from the field despite taking all of his shots from close to the basket or even, at the rim. Smith isn’t exactly looked to for offensive production on this team so whatever he provides in that department is a bonus, but him not being able to get anything to fall was tough to watch. To his credit, he did a good job of rebounding and passing the basketball and his defense was solid at times when he was able to guard someone like Mike Conley, for example.

Story originally appeared on Nets Wire