UNIONDALE - The Long Island Nets continued their strong month of December, defeating the New Orleans Pelicans G League affiliate, the Erie Bayhawks, 109-95, at Nassau Coliseum. The Nets have won four of their last five games, sitting at 6-11 on the season.
The story of the game was Devin Cannady. The former Princeton Tiger shot the lights out in the Coliseum, scoring a career-high 33 points, grabbing eight rebounds, and handing out three assists in 29 minutes of play. The 6’2” Cannady shot 13-of-22 from the field and 6-of-13 from three in the win.
Despite having a career night scoring the ball, Cannady credited the team for the win.
“It was good to get a win,” Cannady said following the game. “To come back here and win since we dropped a couple games here so to get back from the holiday break and have everyone here and back in a rhythm felt good.”
Shaun Fein, the Long Island Nets head coach, said he sees Cannady developing and getting better.
“He is an ultra confident kid,” Fein said of Cannady. “We have the confidence in him to make those shots and get him in situations to make those open three’s and he is getting better.”
For the season, Cannady is
Jonathan Kasibabu, who received a boost in minutes in addition to becoming a starter, continued to play well for Long Island, recording a near double-double with 14 points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes of play. The 6’8” Fairfield product shot 6-of-8 from the field.
“Since we put him into the starting lineup, we have done a really good job,” Fein said. “We started games well and just his energy is really contagious and gets everyone else going. When the coaching staff and I met, that was kinda the idea behind putting him in the starting lineup and it has paid off.”
Ash Yacoubou, who has also received a bigger role with Long Island this month, had a solid all-around game, scoring 14 points, seven rebounds, and three assists in 32 minutes of play. Yacoubou shot 5-of-21 from the field and 4-of-7 from three in the win.
John Egbunu, who came off the bench for Long Island, was a big difference maker for Long Island in the win. Egbunu was a force at the rim, finishing with 12 points and three rebounds on the offensive end. His impact was heavily felt on the defensive end tallying five blocks in the win.
“John Egbunu was huge for us tonight, protecting the rim” Fein said. “I don’t know how many blocks he had tonight but he was a force at the rim, especially in the second half.”
As a team, the Nets shot 43-of-93 from the field (46 percent) and 16-of-40 from three (40 percent). In addition to their consistent shooting, the Nets recorded 10 total turnovers, which is below their average.
The Nets were without both of their two-way players, Henry Ellenson and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, who are with Brooklyn. Deng Adel, who has been dealing with a sore right Achilles did not play as well for Long Island.
Fein and his coaching staff started Cannady, Yacoubou, Kasibabu, Jaylen Hands and C.J. Williams.
The teams traded baskets throughout the first six minutes of play. It was In the final six minutes of play that Long Island turned it on and began to put together a good sized lead, closing the quarter with high energy on both ends of the floor.
After one, Long Island led Erie 23-15.
Egbunu was the difference maker for Long Island in the first, playing nearly six minutes off the bench. The former Florida Gator recorded six points and one highlight block, swatting a shot into the courtside seats.
As a team, the Nets shot 9-of-23 from the field (39.1 percent) and 2-of-9 from three (22.2 percent). Long Island recorded only two turnovers in the first half.
The Nets started the second quarter on a 5-0 scoring run, holding the Bayhawks scoreless throughout the first two minutes. The Nets continued to feed Egbunu down low, giving the Bayhawks trouble defending the big man. Following consistent scoring from Long Island in the early minutes of the second, the Bayhawks began to find some offensive rhythm in the final minutes of the half but their defense did not follow. Long Island closed out the first half on a 6-2 scoring run on back-to-back three’s by Cannady.
At the end of the first half, Long Island led Erie 48-37.
The difference maker for the Nets in the second quarter was Cannady. He scored nine second quarter points to lead the team in scoring with 14 total points. He shot 5-of-11 from the field and 3-of-7 from three in the first half.
As a team, the Nets finished the first half shooting 19-of-53 from the field (35.8 percent) and 7-of-22 from three (31.8 percent). The Nets took good care of the ball on the offensive end though, coughing up only four first half turnovers.
The Nets controlled the opening minutes of the third. The Nets backcourt starters, Hands and Cannady scored 13 points of the Nets firts 15 points of second half. Long Island continued to control the momentum of the game, especially on the offensive end. Erie struggled on switches and defending the perimeter, which hurt them in the third. The Bayhawks struggled to find consistency on the offensive end.
With 1:25 left in the third, C.J. Massinburg was subbed out after a Bayhawks player landed on his lower right leg. The former Buffalo guard received treatment at the end of the Nets bench for the remainder of the third.
At the end of the third, Long Island led Erie 83-63.
The Nets shot 33-of-76 from the field and 12-of-30 from three entering the fourth quarter, recording only seven turnovers.
Cannady led the team with 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field and 5-of-10 from the field in 23 minutes of play.
The fourth quarter was an offensive clinic for Long Island. Cannady continued to shoot the lights out of the Coliseum while the Nets continued their consistent play on the defensive end. Long Island did a good job playing tough defense, despite a big lead, which played a big role in closing out the game.
The Nets had six players in double figures, including all the starters other than Hands who finished with six points on 3-of-21 shooting, including a goose egg in seven tries from beyond the arc.
Long Island next plays Canton, the Cavs affiliate, in the Ohio city on Saturday. NBA teams can begin 10-day call-ups a week from Sunday ... as long as they have open roster spots.