Not a lot of good news out of Uniondale Monday night.
After holding a nine-point lead heading into the fourth, the Long Island Nets dropped their sixth home game without a win, losing to the Raptors 905, 106-95. Tuesday’s game marked the third time in 11 days the two teams have battled.
The game was yet another example of a recurring theme this season so far: blowing a lead, then coming up short in a comeback effort. The Nets biggest lead was 12. With the loss, Long Island falls to 2-10 on the season.
In addition to the loss, Nic Claxton, the Nets 31st overall pick, exited the game with a hamstring injury. There is no update on the severity of the injury. The Nets assignee posted four points, one rebounds, and one assists in six first quarter minutes of play. Claxton shot 2-of-5 from the field and 0-of-1 from three.
Long Island was cheered on by six members of their parent club, the Brooklyn Nets: DeAndre Jordan, Caris LeVert, David Nwaba, Dzanan Musa, and Theo Pinson. Pinson and Musa were major contributors on both ends of the floor in Long Island’s G League championship run last season.
Aside from the negatives, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot continued his strong play as a member of Long Island. The Nets two-way recorded a team-high 20 points to go along with six rebounds and three assists in 34 minutes of play. He shot a combined 8-of-19 from the field and 4-of-11 from three in the loss. Luwawu-Cabarrot tallied five turnovers in the loss, which has been an issue for the 6’7” Frenchman of late.
Henry Ellenson, who has played at stretch 5 for Long island, came off the bench for Long Island. He had a rough shooting night from three, going 0-of-8 but Ellenson still posted a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds in 27 minutes of play. He shot 7-of-20 overall from the field in the loss.
Rodions Kurucs had a solid outing for the Nets, finishing with 14 points, seven rebounds, and five assists in 31 minutes of play. Kurucs, who has played as a stretch 4 for Long Island, went 6-of-7 from the field and 1-of-2 from behind the arc in the loss.
Jaylen Hands, who has played well for Long Island in recent games, scored 11 points, grabbed three rebounds, and handed out six assists in 33 minutes of play. The Nets second round pick shot 4-of-12 from the field and 3-of-7 from three in the loss.
As a team, the Nets shot well from the field, going 37-of-90 (41 percent) but shot 11-of-42 from three (26 percent). In addition, Long Island continued to struggle with ball security, recording 24 turnovers in the loss. Raptors 905 recorded half their amount.
The Raptors 905 now hold a 2-1 season lead over Long Island. Tyler Ennis, the 30-year-old NBA veteran, torched the Nets, finishing with a game-high 26 points to go along with two rebounds and one assist. The NBA veteran shot 11-of-21 from the field and 0-of-4 from three in 34 minutes of play.
Shamorie Ponds, who has hurt Long Island in their three matchups this season, continued his offensive assault finishing with 25 points, five rebounds, and one assist in 27 minutes of play.
As a team, Raptors 905 did not shoot well from three either in the win, going 8-of-38 from behind the arc but went 43-of-104 (41 percent).
Shaun Fein started Hands, Luwawu-Cabarrot, Kurucs, Claxton and Devin Cannady.
Both teams started the game scoring the ball with ease. It did not take long for Claxton to score his first points as a member of the Long Island Nets and in the NBA G League. The Nets assignee, off a bullet pass by Kurucs, slammed home his first points.
Raptors 905 held a one possession lead for a majority of the first quarter. The Nets were not shy to let the three ball fly in the first quarter but the team only connected on two of their 10 attempts from behind the arc. On the defensive end, Long Island struggled to lock down Ennis, who recorded eight first quarter points, primarily off his drives to the basket.
At the end of 1, the Nets and the Raptors 905 were tied up at 22.
Claxton scored four first quarter points for the Nets in six minutes of play. The Nets assignee shot 2-of-5 from the field and 0-of-1 from three. Adel tallied six first quarter points as well against his former G League squad. He shot 2-of-2 from the field in the first.
As a team, the Nets shot 9-of-25 from the field and 2-of-10 from the field. In addition to their sluggish shooting, the Nets recorded five first quarter turnovers.
The Nets had a slow start to the second quarter. Luwawu-Cabarrot scored eight of the Nets first 12 second half points. While Luwawu-Cabarrot was controlling the Nets offense, Raptors 905 really struggled shooting the ball up until the four minute mark. While Raptors 905 struggled to score the ball, the Nets began to put together a good lead behind the play of the two-way’s Luwawu-Cabarrot and Ellenson. Despite building a lead, the Raptors 905 closed out the second quarter on a 6-2 scoring run, cutting their deficit to only four at the half.
At the end of the first half, Long Island led 52-48.
Luwawu-Cabarrot ended the first half, leading the Nets with 14 points in 14 minutes of play. The Nets two-way shot 6-of-13 from the field and 2-of-7 from three. Ellenson had a solid half for the Nets tallying 10 points on 5-of-13 from the field and 0-of-3 from three in 13 minutes of play.
As a team, the Nets shot 22-of-49 from the field and 4-of-18 from three in the first half. Long Island recorded 13 first half turnovers.
The Nets played well on both ends of the floor in the third.
Long Island connected on five three’s in the third but missed a total of nine three’s. Long Island shot a majority of their three’s in the first half of the third while focusing their offense inside the arc for the second half. While playing inside, the Nets were able to extend their lead, highly due to the play of Egbunu down low.
At the end of the third, the Nets led the Raptors 905, 79-70.
Luwawu-Cabarrot continued his strong play tallying 20 points, four rebounds, and two assists at the end of the third. Hands started to heat up in the third, especially as a floor general for Long Island. The second round pick had 11 points, one rebound, and four assists in 21 minutes of play at the end of the third.
As a team, the Nets ended the third shooting 32-of-71 from the field and 9-of-32 from three. Long Island recorded four third quarter turnovers.
The Nets lead evaporated quickly in the opening minutes of the fourth. After going on an 11-3 scoring run, the Raptors 905 erased the Nets lead in the first three minutes of play in the fourth, taking the lead with 9:10 remaining in the game. Throughout the fourth, Raptors 905 stole and maintained momentum.
After taking their second lead with 8:05 left in the game, the Raptors 905 did not look back and held the lead until the final buzzer. The Nets, throughout the season, have struggled to not only hold a fourth quarter lead but find their guy in close games in the final minutes.
Long Island would lose their second straight game at home, losing to the Raptors 905, 106-95.
The Nets look to rebound when they face the Westchester Knicks on Wednesday, December 11, at 11 a.m.