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Long Island loses to Northern Arizona as playoffs slip away

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Long Island Nets

The Long Island Nets played a strange game at Barclays Center on Monday afternoon, getting scorched on defense early, then tightening things up a bit late but in the end losing 119-108 to the Northern Arizona Suns.

The Nets let the Suns score 78 points in the first half, offering almost no resistance. But after half time, they seemed to play with a resolve, holding the Phoenix affiliate to 41 points. In the D-League, that’s an achievement.

Down 23 at the half, 78-55, the Nets kept nibbling away at the Suns lead, but never got closer than 10 and that was with 1:03 left in the game.

Once again, they were led (on offense) by R.J. Hunter, who finished with 25 points and did a lot of the damage late. Hunter, who’s averaged 24 points over the last five games, didn’t shoot that well, 8-of-18 overall and 3-of-9. He did make plays when needed, getting past defenders with his herky-jerky style and hitting from deep.

Chris McCullough and Trahson Burrell, headed to New Orleans for All-Star Weekend, finished with double-doubles, McCullough 18 and 10; Burrell 14 and 12 with six assists, some of them quite nifty, thrown in. J.J. Moore, the Nets’ most consistent player, also had a double-double, with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Hunter’s backcourt mate, Boris Dallo, finished with 18 points, but only one assist.

Long Island is now 13-23, four games behind the Westchester Knicks in the loss column. To make the playoffs, the Nets will have to surpass Westchester in the standings. Once the All-Star Weekend is over, Long Island will have 14 games to make a playoff push. No expansion team has ever made the D-League playoffs.

Two Nets suffered injuries but returned: Hunter (left ankle) and Cliff Alexander (left hand). Beau Beech injured his right knee late and did not return.

Full game video can be found here.