The Long Island Nets continued their strong second half play and remain undefeated since returning from the All-Star break, defeating the Memphis Hustle at Nassau Coliseum, 137-132.
The win pushed Long Island into the top seed in the G League East, jumping over Lakeland. They’re in by mere percentage points ... six to be specific. The Nets have 12 games left, nine of them at Nassau.
Long Island had six players in double-digits. Nets two-way player Theo Pinson led the way with a team-high 28 points on 10-of-18 shooting. Pinson recorded a career-high seven three-pointers, going a 7-of-12 from behind the arc.
Alan Williams, the other Nets two-way player, had another strong outing recording another double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. With this double-double, Big Sauce has 24 double-doubles on the season.
Jordan McLaughlin, the rookie combo guard from USC, had another good outing as well, scoring 17 points and dishing out eight assists in the win. Okaro White, back from an injury, scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Randy Foye, broadcasting for YES Network, said he didn’t expect White, who’s played 54 games with the Heat and Wizards, to be in the G League for long. He expects the 6’8” 26-year-old to get a call-up.
Dzanan Musa, who was coming off a team-high 25 points in Saturday’s win over the Raptors 905, scored 12 points, grabbed four rebounds, and handed out three assists. The Nets’ glue guy, Tahjere McCall, went for 14 points, three and two.
Will Davis, who was acquired by the Nets Wednesday via trade, scored six points in six minutes. Davis was acquired to fulfill the absence of Drew Gordon, who is out with a shoulder injury.
For the Memphis Hustle, Tarik Phillip led all scorers scoring a career-high 48 points to go along with his six rebounds and four assists. Philip set an NBA G-League record with 39 points in the second half. Justin Tillman continued his strong play recording 19 points and seven rebounds.
Yuta Watanabe, who played on the Brooklyn Nets summer league team this past summer, had a strong outing against his former team finishing with 14 seven and six rebounds. Watanabe signed a two-way deal to join the Hustle after playing well in Las Vegas. He became the second Japanese born player to make an NBA debut back in October coming off the bench for the Grizzlies.
Will Weaver started Shannon Scott, Pinson, Williams, Musa, and Kamari Murphy.
Both teams made their shots early and kept the game close. Long Island began to extend their lead late in the first and ended the quarter with a seven point lead.
The Hustle came climbing back to start the second quarter but the Nets did a good job of not losing their lead. The Nets ended the first half on a 9-to-6 scoring run and led the Hustle 76-61. McLaughlin scored six second quarter points finishing the first half with 11 points. Pinson led the way for the Nets in first half scoring with 17 points.
For Memphis, Hannahs led the team in first half scoring with 13 points followed by Philip with nine points.
Memphis started the third quarter on a 6-to-3 scoring run cutting their deficit to single digits. Long Island did a great job defending and scoring on the other end to keep a comfortable lead.
Pinson had a strong quarter for the Nets scoring eight points adding onto his total of 25 points entering the final quarter. McCall ended the third quarter on a strong note scoring four points in the final 20 seconds to boost the Nets lead.
For Memphis, Philip began to turn it on and consistently score. Philip had 14 third quarter points leading Memphis in third quarter scoring while Washburn had 14 points heading into the fourth.
Long Island led Memphis 107-94 heading into the final period.
The Nets did a good job grabbing offensive rebounds in the fourth and scoring second chance points. Long Island continued to hold a comfortable lead heading into the final minutes but Memphis climbed their way back late.
In the end, Long Island’s fourth quarter play was too much for Memphis and the Nets secured their third straight win and remain undefeated in the second half of the season.
Long Island dressed in Nets black-and-white rather than their red, write and blue, celebrating the connection between the NBA and G League.
Meanwhile, in Tehran, Mitch Creek had 20 points, nine rebounds and four assists for Team Australia Sunday in the FIBA Asia World Cup Qualifiers. Australia lost but to Iran, but the Boomers qualified for the Cup which takes place this Augusta and September in China.