The hangover from the latest distraction from Kyrie Irving in the form of a trade request swirled around the Brooklyn Nets for a while on Saturday until the fourth quarter of their game against the Washington Wizards.
By then, there was a game to win and when the Nets were finished completing a comeback from a 23-point deficit, there were plenty of things to enjoy.
Irving didn't play Saturday night, with the team citing calf soreness, and he reportedly will be out again Monday night as the Nets attempt to produce a strong follow up to their big comeback when they host the Los Angeles Clippers -- one of the teams reportedly interested in acquiring the guard.
Bleacher Report said Sunday that the Nets will keep Irving out of games as they seek to complete a trade. He was not on the bench against the Wizards, the day after he reportedly asked for a trade amid dissatisfaction with the Nets over a contract extension. The Nets said Irving missed the game with a sore right calf and it marked the 135th game he did not play since signing with the team along with Kevin Durant in 2019.
Without Irving out and Durant missing a 12th straight game due to a sprained right medial collateral ligament, the Nets stormed back for a wild 125-123 victory -- three nights after a 139-96 loss at Boston.
The Nets pulled off the comeback while only eight players were available as Ben Simmons (sore left knee) and T.J. Warren (left shin contusion) did not play and Seth Curry (left adductor) and Markieff Morris (sore left knee) were injured during the game as the Nets allowed 73 points by halftime.
One of the available players was Cam Thomas, who scored a career-high 44 points on 16-of-23 shooting while playing 29 minutes. Thomas scored 19 points in the fourth, capping the team's comeback with a go-ahead three-point play with 12.2 seconds left.
"We're all pros at the end of the day. It's not like only two people can play," Thomas said. "A lot of guys contribute and play and help at any time."
Los Angeles could be a logical landing spot for Irving since Tyronn Lue coached Cleveland when Irving and the Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA championship. The Clippers are 7-2 over their past nine games since losing nine of 11 from Dec. 29 to Jan. 18, and the players don't seem focused on trade talk.
"You don't look ahead," Clippers guard Paul George said. "For us, we want to be playing the best basketball going into the break. So anything else or any other thoughts, it's kind of out of your mind."
Six of those wins came on the road and four were by seven points or fewer, including Saturday's 134-128 overtime victory over the New York Knicks. After squandering a 21-point lead in Thursday's 106-105 loss at Milwaukee, the Clippers blew a 17-point lead but Nicolas Batum hit a 3-pointer at the horn in regulation and Los Angeles scored 19 points in overtime by hitting 15 free throws.
Kawhi Leonard led the Clippers with 35 points and made six free throws in overtime. It marked the fifth time in his past eight games Leonard scored at least 30 points, and it came on a night when Lue only used eight players.
"We got to do better," Leonard said. "Second night in a row we had big leads against these good teams and they're coming back. They have fight in them and we have to be able to close them out."
--Field Level Media