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Long Island Nets lose to Grand Rapids Drive, fall out of first

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Long Island Nets

The Nets two draft picks and both their two-ways played for Long Island Saturday night in Grand Rapids but it wasn’t enough and the G League Nets lost 116-107. The loss, Long Island’s second in three games, dropped the Nets affiliate into second place in the G League’s Eastern Conference, behind the Westchester Knicks.

For the second straight game, Rodions Kurucs was in double figures, scoring 16 points on 5-of-15 shooting while grabbing eight rebounds and coming up with two steals. Kurucs also also six turnovers.

His fellow rookie, Dzanan Musa, also had a tough shooting night, hitting only 3-of-9 shots. But the 19-year-old, one of the G League’s youngest players came up with 10 board and four assists. Musa was tied with two-way Alan Williams in the rebounding department. Williams, the G League’s leading rebounder, had 10 boards to go with 21 points, the team high, before fouling out in the fourth.

Theo Pinson, the Nets other two-way, hit only 1-of-9 from three, after coming into the game shooting 43.2 percent. He finished with 15 points.

Jordan McLaughlin, the 6’1” point guard out of USC, continued his solid play off the bench, scoring 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including 4-of-9 from deep. McLaughlin, who played for the Nets in summer league, is now averaging 10.0 points and 3.7 assists.

Overall, Long Island had 29 turnovers. Kurucs had six and Musa and Pinson had four each.

The game was tied at 76 going into the third quarter after 11 lead changes and 12 ties. The Drive led by as many as 13 points in the second quarter, but couldn’t hang on to the lead and had to resort to their fourth-quarter surge to pull out the win.

Pistons assignee Khyri Thomas had 24 points, leading Grand Rapids in scoring for the second time this season.

It was Long Island’s first time back in Grand Rapids since last March when Drive forward Zeke Upshaw collapsed on the court and died of sudden cardiac arrest shortly before the game ended.