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Long Island Nets are led by Alan Williams in Opening Night win over Westchester

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Long Island Nets

Alan Williams spent three years with the Phoenix Suns before the club decided against renewing him this summer. The 6’8”, 265-pound forward was recovering from a partially torn meniscus, and the Suns had no room. So the Nets stepped in and signed him to a two-way G League deal.

Williams more than proved his worth Saturday night with a monster 27-and-21 night as Long Island Nets beat their cross-sound rival, the Westchester Knicks, 114-105, in Opening Night action at Nassau Coliseum.

“It wasn’t nothing new,” Williams said post-game. “It was just good to get out there and get a good amount of minutes to go and show that I can do that.”

“You could have told me it was 47 and 41 and I wouldn’t have been surprised,” Long Island Head Coach Will Weaver said. “I thought his impact was huge, even more so how he quarterbacked our defense. I thought his talk was elite. You see why he’s an NBA player. He’s communicating and helping the team even more than the stats suggest.”

Big Sauce, as he’s called, shot 12-of-21 and made 3-of-4 free throws in a game that also featured 20-point efforts from rookies Dzanan Musa (23 points on 10-of-22 shooting, including 3-of-7 from deep) and Theo Pinson (20 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and a +20 plus/minus.) Rodions Kurucs, still bouncing back from an ankle sprain, played 19 minutes. Although he finished with only six points, he also had seven boards, four assists, two steals, and a block.

“Tonight I think he just put his head down and said ‘you can’t stop me’,” Weaver said. “That is growth and that will take him a long way. Despite the youth there are alot of mature players on our team.”

Weaver also noted another positive for Kurucs...

The win was the first for Weaver, who’s served as Kenny Atkinson’s assistant the last two years, and before that in a similar role with the 76ers. He’s also an assistant coach for the Australian national team.

For the Knicks, 6’4” John Jenkins had 31 and 6’8” Isaiah Hicks had 23 and eight. Allonzo Trier, New York’s highly regarded two-way, did not play for Westchester.

The Nets started out fast and kept going. They took the lead for good after a Musa 3-pointer with 3:33 to go in the first. The Knicks would challenge on occasion, getting to within five with 2:57 left to play in the fourth, but the Nets went on a late run to close it out.

The young Nets had quite a cheering section with Sean Marks, Brett Yormark, Caris LeVert, and D’Angelo Russell on hand. Russell was there, in part, to support his Ohio State teammate, Shannon Scott, who started at PG for the Nets and finished with nine points, five rebounds and five assists. Scott, who the Nets signed to a training camp contract then released him, is the son of Hall of Famer Charlie Scott.

Announced attendance for the game was 3,361, about a thousand more than the team’s average last season. The game was broadcast on both MSG2 and Facebook where all 500+ G League games can be found.

The Nets play again at the Coliseum Thursday vs. the Capital City Go-Go, the Wizards affiliate. It’s the first of six games to be televised on YES.