Cam Thomas explodes for new career high 47 points in loss to Clippers

NEW YORK — He did it again.

One game after setting a new career-high, second-year scorer Cam Thomas eclipsed it in the Nets’ 124-116 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.

Thomas scored a new high of 47 points in 39 minutes, shooting 15-of-29 from the field and 7-of-11 from downtown. The Clippers tried several tactics to slow down the 21-year-old guard, from face-guarding him the full length of the court with athletic wing Terrance Mann, to chasing him around the court with vaunted defensive stalwart Kawhi Leonard.

The Clippers even blitzed Thomas at the top of the key and sent doubles at him when he drove to the rim.

None of it worked.

Thomas joined an exclusive list of elite NBA players who have scored 40 or more points in consecutive games before turning age 22: That list includes LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Luka Doncic, Allen Iverson and Andrew Wiggins.

Not even Kyrie Irving accomplished that feat as the main attraction on the Cleveland Cavaliers before LeBron returned home.

Which begs the question: Can Thomas, a clearly gifted scorer, replace Irving’s point production now that the embattled star guard has been shipped to Dallas?

Two games against the Wizards and Clippers isn’t big enough of a sample size. Thomas will need to exploit some of the NBA’s premier defenses before the Nets hand him the key to the kingdom.

Edmond Sumner got his second consecutive start and scored 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting. Royce O’Neale made five of his first six threes in the first quarter then didn’t score again. Nic Claxton finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds, but the Nets failed to generate offense elsewhere on the roster.

Leonard and Paul George combined for 53 points — just six more than Thomas scored on his own.

The Nets play again on Tuesday in the second game of a back-to-back when they host the Phoenix Suns. Ben Simmons is expected to return from a five-game absence due to knee soreness on Tuesday.

If Thomas can have another high-scoring game against a Suns team expected to be close to full health, he’ll make a case for more minutes now that Irving is out of town.

It’s unclear whether or not Spencer Dinwiddie or Dorian Finney-Smith will play on Tuesday as the new arrivals in the Irving deal.