The Long Island Nets fell to 6-12 on the season Saturday, losing to the Canton Charge, the Cavs G League affiliate, 107-91, in Ohio.
Fatigue played a big role in the Nets loss. The team departed for Canton at 6:00 a.m. Saturday, following Friday night’s win over the Erie Bayhawks ... even though game time wasn’t till 5:00 p.m.
Things started slowly, but despite being fatigued, the Nets had five out of their eight active players finish in double-figures.
John Egbunu, the former Florida Gator, continued his domination against the Charge. After scoring a 22-point double-double in the last meeting against Canton, the 6’11” big set a career-high with 26 points and 10 rebounds in Saturday’s loss. The Nets big man missed only two shots, shooting 12-of-14 from the field in 29 minutes of play.
Jaylen Hands, after a horrid shooting performance in Friday’s win, played better, scoring 13 points, grabbing nine rebounds, and handing out four assists in 32 minutes of play. The Nets second-round pick shot 5-of-15 from the field but went 1-of-7 from deep in the loss. Over the last two games, Hands is shooting 8-of-36 and 1-of-14 from deep.
Jonathan Kasibabu had another good game, finishing with 12 points, five rebounds, and two assists in the loss. The Fairfield product shot 5-of-9 from the field in 18 minutes of play.
As a team, the Nets fell behind early and were never able to come back. The team did not lead once throughout the game, opening the game trailing, 12-0. The fatigued Nets closed the loss shooting 36-of-92 from the field (39 percent) and had a very rough night from deep going 5-of-33 (15 percent).
The Nets were without both of their two-way players Henry Ellenson and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, who are with Brooklyn in Houston. Ellenson leads the team in points (20) and rebounds (10).
CJ Massinburg, who is dealing with a right lower leg injury suffered in Friday’s win and Deng Adel, who is resting a sore right Achilles, did not play either. Massinburg’s lower right leg injury does not seem to be serious and is not expected to miss a good amount of time.
Shaun Fein started Devin Cannady, Ash Yacoubou, CJ Williams, Hands and Kasibabu for the second game of a back-to-back.
The Charge started the game on that 12-0 scoring run, holding Long Island scoreless in the first three minutes of play. It took the Nets four minutes to record a field goal to open the game. With 7:07, Fein called a timeout with his team trailing 20-3. Long Island also had six turnovers in the opening five minutes. FInally, the Nets began to find some rhythm late in the first, ending the quarter trailing by 16, 35-19.
They finished the first shooting 8-of-22 from the field and 2-of-8 from deep, recording six turnovers. Egbunu was the high man for Long Island, scoring six points on 3-of-3 shooting from the field.
The Charge did not play well in the opening two minutes of the second but the Nets could not capitalize on their slow play. The Nets played better on both ends of the field in the second, led by Egbunu down low but Canton’s lead weighed too much.
At the end of the first half, Long Island led 60-41. The Charge outscored the Nets 25-22 in the second.
Egbunu continued his strong play down low, finishing with 14 first half points and six rebounds in 15 minutes of play. The Nets big man grabbed six rebounds and shot 7-of-8 from the field in the first half. The backcourt of Hands and Cannady combined for 13 first half points.
Nets finished the half shooting 15-of-46 from the field and 4-of-21 from deep. Long Island only recorded one turnover in the second, totaling seven turnovers in the first half.
Long Island played well in the third but the Charge’s lead was just too much to overcome. The Nets played good offensively but their defense gave in late in the third. Canton pressed on the gas late offensively. The Charge upped the pace late in the third, ending the quarter on a 9-0 scoring run.
At the end of the third, Nets trailed the Charge 88-64
Egbunu recorded four points in the third, entering the fourth with 18 points and seven rebounds on 9-of-11 in 21 minutes of play.
As a team, the Nets shot 25-of-68 from the field and 5-of-28 from three entering the fourth, recording eight turnovers.
Despite trailing by 18 entering the final 12 minutes of play, the Nets finished the game with grit and not giving in. Long Island continued to struggled defending the lane and cutters, which was a difference maker. The Nets increased the tempo on the offensive end but the Charge held their ground and used the clock to their advantage.
The Nets fall to 6-12 on the season, losing to the Charge, 107-91. The game was not without highlights for Long Island.
Long Island will travel to Wilmington, Delaware to take on the 76ers G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats, on Saturday December 4 at the 76ers Fieldhouse. The game marks the first game of yet another back-to-back for Long Island.