R.J. Hunter made his Long Island Nets debut Tuesday, scoring 22 points before fouling out in the young Nets’ 120-112 loss to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants at an empty Barclays Center.
Wearing No. 28, reminding people where he was taken in the 2015 Draft, Hunter was 9-of-16 overall, but only 1-of-6 from deep. He scored on a variety of midrange shots, floaters and drives to the rim. He also contributed three assists and two steals in 25 minutes of play.
The 6’6” Georgia State product was signed by the Nets four days ago after being waived by the Bulls just before New Years. He had previously been dropped by the Celtics just before opening night.
Fort Wayne, with a considerable advantage underneath, raced out to a 22-point lead early in the third led by muscle man Alex Poythress, who finished with 28 and nine. The Nets whittled it down, getting to within 46 seconds to go. But the Mad Ants locked it down on defense and hit their free throws on offense to get the win.
The game was a strange one for Ronald Nored’s Nets. The team’s two mainstays of late, Chris McCullough and Yogi Ferrell, didn’t have good games. In fact, Tuesday was probably the worst game for both in their time in the D-League. McCullough, called up later in the day, finished with 14 and four, Ferrell with six and four.
Cheick Diallo, a Long Island native who had been assigned overnight to his home team by the Pelicans, didn’t play until the second half. In fact, his name wasn’t even listed on the Long Island roster when the game began! But he helped pick up the pace after the Nets had been smothered early by the Mad Ants.
Two NBA veterans, Carrick Felix and Lazar Hayward, both recently returned from injury, had good games. The 6’8” Felix finished with 13, Felix 12. J.J. Moore who’s filled in admirably as the Long Island roster has been shuffled by injuries, assignments and call-ups, scored 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting.
But the biggest contribution in the comeback may have come from French point guard Boris Dallo. The 6’6” Dallo had eight assists, six rebounds and nine points.