With seven seconds left and the Long Island Nets down three points to the winless Canton Charge at Barclays Center, the stage was set for a dramatic ending. Donnie McGrath, the Long Islanders’ sure-handed point guard, was trying to get the ball to Chris McCullough for a final shot.
A botched handoff led to a Charge steal and the game devolved into a contest of foul shots the Nets lost. Final score: 107-102. The Long Island Nets first home game in Brooklyn ended in disappointment.
“Honestly, I don’t know,” said McCullough after the game. I thought he was going to shoot it and he handed it off and I missed the pass.”
It was that kind of a game for Long Island, now 1-4. There were 13 lead changes, 13 ties and some missed signals. The young Nets had 22 turnovers and tensions flared lat in the game when in a huddle, point guard Boris Dallo began to point his finger and yell in the direction of center Egidijus Mockevicius. A few minutes later, Mockevicious was cradling Dallo as he got off the floor, his nose bleeding profusely. After the game, a team doctor examined Dallo. No word on whether he’ll play Sunday.
For Ronald Nored, the Long Island coach, the loss was frustrating. Although he noted pre-game that he wasn’t nervous, he admitted to some anxiety about the his team’s debut at Barclays, the first of 24 home games in Brooklyn, 22 of which are double-headers with both the NBA and D-League squads playing within hours of one another.
He said his biggest job was to get the group “to trust the system, especially when it doesn’t go right.” With four losses, that will get tougher.
There were some bright lights in the loss as well as some less illuminated corners. McCullough, on the surface, had a good game. He finished with 21 points, but at the same time, he didn’t shoot that well, going 8-of-19 (2-of-5 from deep), turned the ball over six times, not including that botched handoff; and grabbed only four rebounds in 34 minutes. In a close game, he finished with a -19 plus/minus rating.
After the game, he put on a good face and looked forward to being the fourth player in NBA history to play in both a D-League and NBA game the same day. “I’m young, my legs are good, I’m around.”
Other than McCullough, a couple of other Long Island players stood out. Dallo, who left the game with 2:24 remaining, finished with 14 points, nine rebounds, five assists and 5-of-9 shooting. The 22-year-old Frenchman played 36 minutes, much of it alongside McGrath, who finished with 16.
Carrick Felix, who had a short spell with the Cavaliers three years ago, seemed to be fully recovered from a horrific knee injury that kept him out of basketball last season. The team’s high scorer and best shooter, he finished with 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Mockevicius, who played better as the game went on, had a double double of 14 points and 16 rebounds.
The Nets announced a paid attendance of 1,298 people, most of whom on one side of the lower bowl.
Grant Jerrett, the 6’10” former Thunder center, finished with 24 and 13. Video of the full game can be found here.