The Nets had been rocked by a trade demand from one of their stars for the third time in less than year.
Then, Cam Thomas put together a star turn, carrying the Nets to a come-from-behind 125-123 victory over the Wizards before a sellout crowd of 17,732 at Barclays Center on Saturday night.
Thomas poured in a game-high 44 points, including 19 in the fourth quarter. That helped the Nets, who had been stunned by Kyrie Irving’s trade demand, erase a 23-point deficit and pull out a victory.
The Nets trailed 123-122 with 12.2 seconds left, when Thomas drew a foul on Deni Avdija in the act of shooting. After a review, it was determined that Daniel Gafford had committed goaltending on the shot. After Thomas hit the and-one, the Nets had a lead they never gave up.
Monte Morris missed two from the charity stripe with 7.1 seconds left and the Nets held on.
Even the stoic Thomas had to smile.
“We [were] down by a lot, 18,” Thomas said. “I knew I had to come in and be aggressive.”
Shocked by the Irving news — and already playing with an injury-riddled squad — the Nets (32-19) had just eight available players at one point.
The Nets are 5-7 since Kevin Durant sprained his right MCL on Jan. 8. Irving — who hadn’t been listed on the initial injury report — was a late scratch with what the team called right calf soreness.
Nets win without Kyrie Irving thanks to Cam Thomas’ 44-point night