NEW YORK (AP) — Paul George scored 29 points, Kawhi Leonard added 24 and the Los Angeles Clippers overcame a career-high 47 points from Cam Thomas in his first start to beat the short-handed Brooklyn Nets 124-116 on Monday night.
Ivica Zubac added 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Clippers, who won for the eighth time in 10 games and finished 4-2 on their six-game Eastern Conference road trip.
Thomas, who scored 44 to rally the Nets past Washington on Saturday, was even better on the day the Nets completed the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to Dallas. But Los Angeles outscored Brooklyn 25-9 over the final 6:20.
Nic Claxton had 15 points and 15 rebounds for the Nets, while Edmund Sumner chipped in 23 points for Brooklyn. Before the game, the deal that sent Irving and forward Markieff Morris to Dallas for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and multiple draft picks was announced.
Neither Dinwiddie nor Finney-Smith were available, nor were stars Kevin Durant and Ben Simmons and guard Seth Curry due to injury. Nets coach Jacque Vaughn rotated 11 of his 12 dressed players, but Los Angeles’ bench still outscored Brooklyn’s 38-10.
But Thomas almost single-handedly kept Brooklyn within striking distance. Thomas had 22 in the first half, then electrified the crowd with a combination of 3-pointers and mid-range jumpers, helping Brooklyn lead by 107-99 midway through the fourth.
Los Angeles rallied with a 9-0 run and outscored Brooklyn 33-28 in the fourth, keyed by Leonard’s nine points in the frame
The Nets made 8 of 12 first-quarter 3-pointers and built an eight-point advantage. But the Clippers closed the first with a 10-0 run then George then scored nine in the second, helping the Clippers build an 11-point advantage.
But the Nets closed the half with a 13-4 run, cutting Los Angeles’ lead to 55-53 at halftime.
Clippers: Forward Marcus Morris Sr. was ejected with 1:57 left in the second quarter. … The Clippers improved to 14-11 against the Eastern Conference and 8-7 on the road.
Nets: Durant (sprained right MCL) missed his 13th straight game. The Nets are expected to give an update on his progress Tuesday. … Simmons (left knee soreness) was unavailable for the fifth straight game but could play Tuesday against Phoenix on the second night of a back-to-back.
Clippers: Host Dallas on Wednesday.
Nets: Host Phoenix on Tuesday.