We don’t know the Nets plans for Cliff Alexander, Long Island’s 6’9”, power forward (emphasis on the power) or R.J. Hunter, the 6’6” shooting guard (emphasis on the shooting), but two once again showed Friday night that they may be too good for the D-League.
The two combined for 55 points in Long Island’s 125-113 loss to Delaware, the 76ers’ affiliate in Newark, DE. Alexander, who the Nets traded for at the end of January, finished with 30 points and 16 rebounds in 38 minutes while Hunter, who the Nets signed that same month, went for 25 points and eight assists. He hit on four three-pointers.
The Nets retain two’s D-League rights (along with those of Trahson Burrell and J.J. Moore, etc.). There’s no automatic transfer of D-League rights to an NBA parent club. They can sign training camp contracts with any NBA team come July and try out like another player on a camp deal. The Nets could call them up on a 10-day contract before season’s end, but Brooklyn has no roster openings ... and none are expected.
Alexander, 21, has been particularly dominant of late. He’s had double-doubles in eight of the last 10 games, including Friday night. In the last five days, he’s had games of 30 and 16 Friday; 32 and 12 on Tuesday; and 23 and 12 last Sunday.
Hunter, 23, has had some up’s and down’s, but over the last four games, he’s averaging 22.8 and has hit 15 three’s at a 36.6 percent rate. He has hit at least one three in all 23 D-League games he’s played this season. When pressed, he can play a bit of the point as well.
Both have their deficiencies, particularly on defense in Hunter’s case. The two have a combined 49 games of NBA experience, 39 of them by Hunter.
Friday night, the 87ers’ Russ Smith led all scorers with a season-high 37 points on 15-22 from the field. The offensive outburst comes a year and a day after the 6’1” Smith put up 65 points, setting a single-game D-League scoring record that may not be broken for awhile.
Aaron Harrison (14), Devondrick Walker (13), Nate Robinson (11) and Shane Edwards (10) also ended up in double figures for Delaware. All 10 players who saw time on the court scored for the Sevens. J.J. Moore had 19 and Trahson Burrell had 10 for Long Island.
The game was a homecoming for Long Islands’ Trevor Cooney, who played high school ball, including a state championship, at the Bob Carpenter Sports Convocation Center
The Nets have two games left, Fort Wayne on Tuesday and Westchester, the Knicks affilate, on April 1. Long Island played all its home games this season at Barclays. They will move Nassau Coliseum, their permanent home next season.
Full game video of the game can be found here.
- Box Score: Delaware 87ers 125, Long Island Nets 113 - D-League
- Highlights: Cliff Alexander (30 points) vs. the 87ers (Video) - D-League
- Highlights: RJ Hunter (25 points) vs. the 87ers (Video) - D-League
- Top Play by Cliff Alexander vs. the 87ers (Video) - D-League
- Smith’s 37 Points Fuel 87ers Past Nets - D-League
- D-League Nets' Cooney has hoops homecoming as a pro - Kevin Tresolini - Wilmington News-Journal