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Henry Ellenson scores 25 as Long Island extends losing streak to seven, falling to Red Claws, 116-114.

Portland Press-Herald

The Long Island Nets took another tough loss Sunday afternoon, extending their losing streak to seven games as they fell to the Maine Red Claws, 116-114 in Portland, Maine.

Long Island is now 1-7 on the season, second worst record in the G League. The Nets have lost the past four games by five or less points. Each loss consisted of a fourth quarter comeback effort that ultimately failed.

Despite their loss, there were a couple of bright spots. The Nets had seven players finish in double-figures ... and that’s important. It is a development league, after all.

Nets two-way Henry Ellenson had an impressive outing, recording a near double-double with a team-high 25 points, nine rebounds, and four assists in 36 minutes of play. Ellenson shot 8-of-16 from the field and 3-of-8 from three. The Nets two-way played at the center position with John Egbunu’s DNP.

Rodions Kurucs, who was sent to Long Island to give him playing time, had another good outing for Long Island, finishing with 16 points, six rebounds, four assists, and only one turnover in the loss. Kurucs shot 6-of-12 from the field and 2-of-7 from three in 31 minutes of play.

Jaylen Hands had a solid outing as well, ending with 18 points, four rebounds, and two assists in 21 minutes of play. Hands shot 7-of-11 from the field and 4-of-6 from three. In addition, the Nets second-round pick did not turn the ball over once in the loss, a big positive for the 20-year-old.

Devin Cannady scored 18 points in the loss, all of his made shots from the field came behind the arc. The 6’2” shooting guard shot 5-of-15 overall, 5-of-12 from three in 32 minutes of play.

As a team, the Nets shot 39-of-94 from the field (41 percent) and 19-of-51 from three (37 percent). The Nets shot 10-of-12 from the foul line. Long Island recorded 15 turnovers in the loss.

For the Red Claws, Yante Maten led the way with 24 points, eight rebounds, and two assists in 32 minutes of play. With the absence of Egbunu, Maten played well under the basket.

Justin Gibbs finished with 22 points in 38 minutes of play while the rookie, Romeo Langford, had another good outing with 14 points in 17 minutes. Langford suffered an apparent ankle injury in the third. The rookie was taken off the court with the help of his teammates and is expected to miss a good amount of time.

The Red Claws shot 45-of-95 from the field (47 percent) and 13-of-36 from three (36 percent).

Nets coach Shaun Fein changed up his starting lineup, starting C.J. Massinburg as well as Luwawu-Cabarrot along with Cannady, Kurucs, and Ellenson.

Early on, the Red Claws focused their offense around ball movement and finding the open man outside the three point arc. The Nets focused their offense inside the arc rather than three-point shooting. The Nets went scoreless from the six minute mark till 3:06. While the Nets went scoreless, the Red Claws tallied 11 points, beginning their scoring barrage. Maine went on to score a total of 43 first quarter points while Long Island only tallied 25 points. Their first quarter play was one of the worst defensive first quarter performances this season. At the end of one, Long Island trailed 43-25.

In the second quarter, the Nets were visibly more communicative on the defensive end and started the quarter in an offensive groove. They opened the second quarter on a 14-2 scoring run. With 7:46 left in the second, Fein subbed in Jahmal McMurray, Massinburg, and CJ Williams to replace Hands, Kurucs, and Cannady. Following the changes, the Red Claws went on a 12-3 run, building on their lead. The Nets struggled to cut their deficit in the final minutes of the first half.

At the end of the second quarter, the Nets trailed 66-53.

Cannady led the Nets in scoring at the half with 15 points and one rebound followed by Hands with 10 first half points. As a team, the Nets shot 19-of-50 from the field (38 percent) and 9-of-24 from three (35 percent). The Nets recorded eight first half turnovers.

The Nets started the third quarter on a good note from the offensive end. Long Island slowly cut into the Maine’s lead throughout the third quarter. The Nets did a good job limiting the Red Claw’s ball movement on the defensive end, leading to tough shots for Maine. In addition, Long Island were patient on the offensive end rather than playing with fast pace.

At the end of the third, Long Island trailed by only five, 91-86.

The Nets climbed back into the game throughout the fourth quarter, trailing by only one point with 5:32 left in the fourth. With 3:02 left in the fourth, Maine called a timeout with a 110-107 lead. In the final minute, with the Nets down by five, the Nets did not call a timeout and instead the offense scrambled to find an open man outside the 3-point arc. As the shot clock ran down, Luwawu-Cabarrot missed a mid-range jumper with 33.8 seconds left in the game. The following play, Maine iced the game with a layup by Walters with 13.8 seconds remaining. With 1.3 seconds left, Ellenson hit a three from the corner but Maine pulled away with the win, 116-114.

The Nets look to snap their seven game losing streak when they travel to Wisconsin to face the Herd on Tuesday December 3.