Brooklyn Nets players Mikal Bridges (L) and Cam Thomas.

Brooklyn Nets players Mikal Bridges (L) and Cam Thomas. Credit: AFP via Getty Images/Emmanuel Dunand

Cam Thomas drove for a simple layup in the third quarter Saturday, two of his 21 points in the period. As the 76ers called timeout, Mikal Bridges walked from the corner applauding as the Nets led by 23.

There’s been a growing synergy with the scoring by Thomas and Bridges the last few weeks. Whereas previously one of them scored often at the other’s expense, now they’ve been cooking together and forcing defenses to deal with it.

Over the last nine games, both have scored at least 20 points seven times. Bridges and Thomas have at least 20 in last three games and five of the last seven entering Monday’s game against Golden State.

“I think this only honestly is the beginning, there’s more reps, more time,” Bridges said at shootaround Monday. “But it's been good. I think just him being out there in our starting lineup makes it easy, too. Where you got two guys and they got to worry about it.”

Thomas started the previous four games with Dorian Finney-Smith out with an ankle injury. After expressing some frustration over his changing role, he’s responded with two 30-point games as a starter, including 40 points Saturday.

But in the past nine games, Thomas and Bridges have figured out a chemistry where both can thrive as scorers. Thomas is averaging 25.2 points while Bridges is at 24.1 points.

“Just playing off each other that’s all,” Thomas said. "Playing off each other and reading the game, making the right plays. No matter who’s got it going just read the game, make the right play and the ball will find you.”

They’ve also done it differently. During this stretch, Thomas has been remarkably efficient shooting 54.1% from the field and 42.9% on three-pointers.

Threes aren’t a main part of Thomas’ shot diet but while he’s taking more of them, he’s making more. It’s also come as teams have thrown more double teams at him and Thomas is responding with more assists, as evidenced by his five against the 76ers.

“He’s a magician when it comes to putting the ball in the hoop,” said Lonnie Walker IV, who called Thomas “Mr. 40” on Saturday after his third 40-point game this season. “It's like he puts a magnet on the ball every time he shoots that ball.”

Bridges, meanwhile, has leaned heavier on threes. In the last nine games, he’s averaging 10.1 three-point attempts per game, a significant bump from averaging 6.7 since joining the Nets last season.

He’s taken at least 12 threes in each of the last three games. One change is relying on more pull-up three-pointers, something Bridges has thrived on with mid-range shots.

“I feel like early in the season, even last year, I just wasn't that capable of making that many pull-up threes as much as I want,” said Bridges, who’s shooting 44% on threes the past nine games.

It’s made the Nets more potent, especially with Ben Simmons back healthy. But it’s also a pairing the Nets have to be pleased with looking ahead.

Multiple reports have said the Nets want to build around Bridges instead of trade him by Thursday’s deadline. Thomas is eligible for a contract extension this offseason and the Nets must settle on his role whether it’s starter or sixth man.

The last three weeks hint at the promise the two have together. It’s a comforting thought but not so for defenses deciding who to contain.

“I think they’re learning how to [say] it’s not my turn, your turn kind of thing,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “It’s really playing within the flow of the offense and letting it really come to them. They’re going to play the minutes and so I think they’re learning how to devise ways to be productive.”

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