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Long Island loses to Grand Rapids, but where’s R.J. Hunter?

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Indiana Pacers v Boston Celtics Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Grand Rapids Drive (20-17) beat the Long Island Nets (13-24) at home on Wednesday night by a 118-106 final. It was Grand Rapids’ eighth win in their last nine games. The Nets dropped their fourth in a row.

For Nets fans, the final score was secondary. The question they had was, where was R.J. Hunter. With Chris McCullough gone to Washington, the 6’6” guard is Long Island’s best player, but he was nowhere to be found. Injured? Resting? Or was his absence a prelude to him being called up by Brooklyn ... or someone else. Brooklyn, according to Adrian Wojnarowski, plan on waiving newly acquired Marcus Thornton, opening up a roster spot.

Kevin Murphy and Jordan Crawford were a lethal one-two punch for the Drive. Murphy had his most efficient game of the season, going 10-of-12 from the field and 9-of-12 from the free-throw line on his way to a game-high 31 points and Crawford scored 25 points with nine assists.

J.J. Moore scored 25 points for the Nets, newly acquired Cliff Alexander had 22, his high as a Net and Egidijus Mockevicius was all over the stat sheet with 13 points, 18 rebounds and six assists. Tim Quarterman, playing his first game for Long Island after recently being assigned by the Portland Trail Blazers, had 18 points off the bench.

Trey Freeman, Chris Anderson and Nikola Jovanovic were the other Grand Rapids players in double figures, each chipping in 10 points.

The Drive had a 12-point lead at one point in the first quarter thanks to a hot start, but the Nets fought back and cut it to a three-point deficit at the end of the first. The Drive led 70-64 at halftime, but the Nets scored the first nine points of the third quarter and got back in the game, forcing a back-and-forth battle throughout the third.

But the Drive closed the third quarter on a 5-0 run to lead 98-91 entering the fourth, and they opened up the fourth quarter with an 18-11 advantage to seal the win.

Neither team was able to get much going from deep, but both were also very effective in the paint. The Drive were uncharacteristically just 4-of-26 from three-point range but still managed to shoot 52 percent from the field by virtue of shooting over 65 percent in the paint. Similarly, the Nets were 5-of-20 from deep but still shot 48 percent on the night.

Grand Rapids generally won the loose balls and got the breaks on the night, as they drew 26 free throw attempts to 14 for the Nets and forced 20 turnovers while committing 11.

Full game video can be found here.