The Long Island Nets had nearly a full complement of players Monday night in Lakeland, Florida, with Dzanan Musa, Theo Pinson, Alan Williams and Mitch Creek on the court. And prior to the game, Pinson and Williams were named to the G League all-star team. None of it mattered much as Long Island lost another close one, 112-109, this time to Lakeland Magic.
It was the fourth straight loss for Long Island and their seventh in the last 10. They’ve dropped into third place in G League’s Eastern Conference. For most of the season, Long Island was tops in the East.
Part of the issue was shooting. Long Island shot 40.2 percent overall and made 34.3 percent of their three’s. But a bigger concern was ball-handling. The Nets gave up the ball 28 times, an extraordinary number particularly with the team’s continuity. Pinson, Musa and Shannon Scott all had five apiece.
The game was close early but with a little more than five minutes left, the Nets found themselves down by 10. Not and insurmountable lead in the offensively minded G League. And after a 12-2 run, with the score tied and 1:30 left, it looked like the Nets might pull it out. Long Island’s sloppiness prevented that.
Pinson who finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds, went deep, but couldn’t find the bottom of the basket and Lakeland recovered. Anthony Brown, the former Laker and Timberwolf, dominated the last minute, stealing the ball from Jordan McLaughlin, then uncermoniously blocking him. Brown, a 6’7” swingman, also hit two free throws that put the Magic up by four. Williams cut it to one with his 12th three pointer of the season, but the Magic made their free throws and won by three.
Here’s Pinson’s highlight package...
Besides Pinson, four other Nets were in double figures: Musa recorded 16 points, 13 rebounds and six assists; Williams 14 points and six rebounds; Creek 13 and 6 and Shannon Scott, 13 points and three rebounds but no assists.
Seven players scored in double figures for the Magic with Braian Angola coming off the bench to score 19 points and 7 rounds on the night. BJ Johnson scored 17 points and 8 rebounds. Anthony Brown posted 17 points and 6 rebounds. John Petrucelli had 13 points. Gabe York scored 12 points and Troy Caupain had 11 points and 5 rebounds.
The Nets are now off until February 21, when they return to action at Nassau vs. the Sioux Falls Skyforce. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+. The game after that, on February 24, will be on YES Network.