The Long Island Nets suffered their fifth straight loss at home Friday, losing to the Santa Cruz Warriors, . With the loss, the Nets fall to 2-9 on the season. In addition, the Nets remain as the only team in the G League that hasn’t picked up a win at home.
As head coach Shaun Fein said prior to the season opener, this season is about development and with development comes winning. The winning hasn’t arrived yet but the development is moving in the right direction.
The Nets had four players who finished in double-figure scoring, led by their best player.
Another good game for Two-Way Player Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot pic.twitter.com/S6EcOn5e4x— Long Island Nets (@LongIslandNets) December 7, 2019
—Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, who’s averaging better than 20 points, finished with 26 points, shooting 10-of-20 overall, including 5-of-10 from deep. TLC also had three steals, two steals ... and six turnovers. He’s now averaging 20.9 for the season.
—Jaylen Hands, who returned to the starting lineup, had an impressive outing recording 21 points, five assists, and one rebounds in 31 minutes of play. The Nets second round pick shot 8-of-15 from the field and 5-of-9 from three in the loss. He’s now shooting 45.7 percent beyond the arc for the season.
—Devin Cannady had another good outing, especially doing what he is known for: his sharpshooting. The former Princeton Tiger shot 6-of-13 from the field and 4-of-9 from three in the loss, finishing with 16 points, seven rebounds, and five assists in 36 minutes of play.
—Henry Ellenson, the Nets two-way center, tallied a near double-double with 17 points and nine rebounds in 27 minutes of play. Ellenson has been playing the stretch 5 position for the Nets as of late, taking the starting spot from John Egbunu, who plays more like a traditional center.
“It is not a totally unfamiliar role but I have played the 4 for the last couple of years so i’ll be able to play the 5 is just another step down,” said the 6’11” Ellenson. “ I feel good about it. The only thing tough about it was handling those ball screens.”
Fein likes what he brings to Long Island.
“He gives us something we don’t have when he is not here,” said Fein. “A 5 that can stretch the floor, bring their bigs out of the paint, which allows easier driving lanes for our guards to get to the paint without any rim protection...
After posting a solid comeback performance in Thursday’s win, Rodions Kurucs posted only eight points to go along with his five rebounds, and six assists. The Nets assignee played in a total of 30 minutes in Friday’s loss, shooting 3-of-8 from the field and 1-of-4 from three.
Long Island were short handed in the loss, missing two of their main contributors on the offensive end. Deng Adel, who has been dealing with a sore left Achilles, was ruled out and CJ Massinburg was scratched from the game, dealing with a sore left ankle.
As a team, the Nets shot 38-of-87 from the field (44 percent) and 19-of-46 (41 percent) from three but again Long Island had trouble with turnovers throughout the game, ending with 17 total turnovers.
For the Warriors, the team had a total of six players finish in double-figures to lead them to their sixth win of the season and 6-6 on the season.
The 33-year-old NBA veteran Jeremy Pargo led the way for Santa Cruz, finishing with 28 points, six rebounds, and two assists in 30 minutes of play. The starting point guard shot 11-of-17 from the field and 2-of-6 from three in the win.
Devyn Marble had a good game for Santa Cruz, finishing with a double-double. Marble tallied 19 points and 11 rebounds in 36 minutes of play. Former Kentucky Wildcat Andrew Harrison had a solid outing finishing with 17 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
Fein and his coaching staff started Hands, Kurucs, Cannady, Luwawu-Cabarrot, and Ellenson.
Both teams began the game scoring the ball with ease. The Nets began the game with three made three’s, two of them were on back-to-back possessions by Hands. Despite the smooth start on the offensive end, Long Island struggled to defend the lane. The Warriors had little trouble getting to the basket off drives. In addition, the Nets had trouble on switches midway through the first, leaving the Warriors have open shots outside the perimeter. Both teams ended the first on a quiet note. The Nets recorded only six points while the Warriors tallied only two points.
At the end of one, Long Island led Santa Cruz, 27-26.
Cannady led both teams after one in scoring with 11 points, going 3-of-3 from behind the arc. Hands had a strong first quarter, returning as the starting point guard, tallying six points and two assists in six minutes of play.
As a team, the Nets shot 10-of-20 from the field (50 percent) and 6-of-8 from three (75 percent) from three. Long Island recorded six first quarter turnovers.
After a good all-around first quarter, the Nets did not play well on the defensive end. Santa Cruz began to pull away, extending their lead to double digits, beginning at the seven minute mark. The Warriors went on a 6-0 scoring run. Santa Cruz’s ball movement allowed floor spacing, finding their open man being patient with the ball. The Warriors ended the half on a 5-0 scoring, run building their lead to 13 at the end of the first half.
The 6’3” Hands had a strong first half, returning as a starter, going 5-of-7 from the field and 3-of-4 from three, ending the half with 13 points and three assists in 15 minutes.
“He was the spark for us early on for sure. He kept us in the game early on with his three point shooting and I thought he played a pretty big game,” Fein said of the 20-year-old. “They tried to pressure him all the time and we got to help him with that.”
Cannady went scoreless in the second quarter, ending the first half with 13 points followed by Ellenson with nine points and four rebounds in 15 minutes of play.
Kurucs ended the first half tallying two points, four rebounds, and three assists in 17 minutes of play. The Nets assignee shot 1-of-5 from the field and 0-of-2 from the three.
As a team, the Nets shot the ball pretty well in the first half. Long Island shot 19-of-42 from the field (42 percent) and 8-of-17 from three (47 percent). Despite shooting pretty well, the team’s main struggle in the first half was on the defensive end. In addition, Long Island turned the ball over 13 times.
After a tough second quarter defensively, the Nets played better on both ends but so did the Warriors. Santa Cruz focused their offense inside the three point arc, driving the ball and forcing fouls. The Nets struggled to defend the lane, especially cutters and play through switches.
On the offensive end, the Nets continued to shoot threes, launching 11 total in the third quarter, as their main form of offense.
At the end of three, the Nets trailed the Warriors, 94-76.
The Nets had three players in double-figures at the end of the third: Ellenson with 11, Hands with 19, and Cannady with 16 points.
As a team, the Nets shot 27-of-62 from the field (43.5 percent) and 12-of-28 from three (42.9 percent). The Nets had 20 turnovers heading into the fourth.
After a slow first half of the fourth, the Nets slowly cut into their deficit but could not force a lead change. Long Island fought hard in the final minutes of the fourth, spreading the floor and looking for the open man outside the arc. Despite the high energy on both ends of the floor and the tight defense in the closing minutes, the Nets could not pull off the comeback.
Long Island look to get back on track when they face the Raptors 905 for the third time this season, home on Monday Dec. 9.
- Game Report: Santa Cruz Warriors 119, Long Island Nets 108 (with Video) - G League
- LI Nets’ home struggles continue with loss to Santa Cruz Warriors - Christopher Detwiler - Newsday