The Long Island Nets topped the Delaware Blue Coats, 142-133, Friday, winning their final road game of the regular season and securing the best record in the Eastern Conference.
The Nets have already clinched not only their first NBA G League playoff appearance in franchise history but have a first-round bye in the post-season, which begin on March 26.
Long Island had the three ball working for them throughout the game. When the two teams met in February, the Nets piled on 19 made three-pointers and in this win, made 13.
The Nets assignee and both their two-ways had big games.
Dzanan Musa paved the way for Long Island recording 26 points, six rebounds, and five assists in the win. Musa was 11-of-21 for the contest, including 3-of-7 from deep. Musa is now shooting 35.5 percent from deep.
Nets two-way center Alan Williams had a big game, especially second half play, recording a double-double, scoring 23 points and 13 rebounds.
Nets other two-way guard Theo Pinson came close to his second triple double, scoring 19 points, grabbing nine rebounds, and handing out eight assists, Pinson came up huge for Long Island in the fourth quarter on both ends of the floor. (Hoopshype reported Friday that no NBA player has more March Madness wins , 14, than Pinson.)
Mitch Creek did well for the Nets on both ends of the floor. The Australian forward recorded 22 points, five rebounds, and four assists in the win. In the closing minute, Creek snagged his own rebound off his foul shot putting the bagger in the win for the Nets.
Thomas Wimbush, who had been injured much of the second half of the season, had a great shooting night going 4-of-7 from the field, 2-of-3 from behind the arc, and an impressive 9-of-9 from the foul line. Like Pinson, he was huge in the fourth quarter for the Nets. He finished with 19 points, five rebounds, and one assist.
For Delaware, Former Net Rashad Vaughn had another impressive scoring outing. Vaughn finished with a game-high 27 points, four rebounds, and two assists in the loss. Vaughn is averaging 15.5 points a game for the season.
Shake Milton, the 76ers two-way, matched Musa in scoring. Milton recorded 26 points, one rebound, and four assists followed by Jared Brownridge with 20 points, two rebounds, and three assists.
Zhaire Smith, the 76ers draft pick, had 19 points, one rebound, and three assists.
Will Weaver, coaching his first game since his new gig with Sydney was announced, had his best starting lineup going against the Blue Coats. The Nets starting five was Creek, McCall, Williams, Musa, and Pinson. That starting five is arguably the best lineup in the NBA G League. However, the Nets will be without their top reserve the rest of the way. Shannon Scott, their 6’3” point guard, will miss the remainder of the NBA G League season with a right ankle injury.
The first quarter was a high scoring quarter for both teams. The Nets and the Blue Coats started the game consistently scoring. Long Island began to pull away midway through the first hitting almost every shot they took.
The Nets hit seven first quarter three-pointers; three from Musa, one from Big Sauce, one from Pinson, one from Wimbush, and one from Omot.
Musa led all scorers after one with 11 points followed by Creek and Williams, who had seven points each.
Pinson had a quiet offensive quarter for Long Island scoring three point but did a great job passing the ball around looking for an open shot from his teammates.
The Nets shot 15-of-23 from the field (65%) and 7-of-13 from behind the arc (54%). Long Island did not shoot as many first quarter free throws as they are use to but went 4-of-5 (80%).
For Delaware, Milton scored nine points followed by Smith with eight points. Bolden had a good quarter for the Blue Coats scoring five points followed by Brownridge with four points.
The Blue Coats shot 11-of-25 from the field (44%) but were cold from behind the arc going 2-of-9 (22%). Delaware did go 4-of-4 from the foul line.
At the end of one, Long Island led 41-28.
The Blue Coats eight of the first nine points to start the second. Despite the strong start, cutting into Long Island’s early lead, the Nets began to heat up leaving where they left off in the first; consistently scoring.
The Nets scored consistently but Vaughn was hot in the second. The former Net had the hot hand leading the Blue Coats throughout the second.
Before the halftime buzzer, the Blue Coats took the lead off a nifty drive by Vaughn.
Musa continued his strong play ending with 15 points, three rebounds, and one assists at the half. Creek had a good half, especially strong play on both ends in the second, recording 11 points, two rebounds, and three asissts.
Wimbush had the hot hand throughout the half, especially hitting heat checks in the second. He had 10 points, one rebound, and one assist.
The Nets connected on 10 threes in the first half going 10-of-19 from behind the arc. Surprisingly, Delaware out-rebounded the Nets 24-21 in the first half.
For the Blue Coats, Vaughn was their main offensive weapon. He shot the ball well and drove the ball at a high level. He had 20 points, four rebounds, and one assist at the half. All of his points came in the second and he scored the last 11 points for the Blue Coats.
Milton and Smith continued their consistent scoring on the offensive end scoring 11 points each.
At the half, Blue Coat led the Nets 70-68.
Williams began to heat up early in the third quarter. After a quiet first half, Williams started to bully ball down low sending himself to the line or connecting on and-one drives.
Both teams stayed consistent on the offensive end and were a bit wary on the defensive end. With 4:39 left in the third, the Blue Coats committed their final foul and were over the limit.
Throughout the third, the Nets had trouble contesting the Blue Coats three-point shooting. Delaware’s three-point shooting was their most dangerous offensive weapon in the third.
The Nets outscored the Blue Coats 30-to-27 in the third quarter.
Musa had a team-high 19 points to go along with six rebounds and two assists. Williams had a great third quarter recording another double-double in his return scoring 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Wimbush continued to be dominate on the offensive end recording 16 points, three rebounds, and one assist. Pinson continued to have a quiet scoring night but it was his passing and rebounding that highlighted the third. He recorded nine points, six rebounds, and five assists heading into the fourth.
For Delaware, Vaughn went scoreless in the third but still had 20 points. Smith and Milton recorded 17 points each heading into the fourth.
At the end of three, Nets led Delaware 98-97.
The Nets scored the first 10 of the 17 points extending their lead. There was some stoppage in the early fourth but not long.
With 6:15 left in the game, Vaughn woke up and connected on a four-point play cutting the Nets lead to one point. The Blue Coats began to go on a scoring run scoring the last 10 points before Williams connected on a bully-ball layup.
With 3:26, Musa connected on a nifty and-one drive cutting the Blue Coats lead to just one point, 125-126.
The Blue Coats and the Nets both went with small-ball lineups for the closing minutes of the game.
With 0:34, McCall shifted on a Blue Coats inbound play and drew a charge on Haywood Highsmith. Delaware immediately requested to challenge the call. After a three minute review, the call stood.
After a game of fouling, the Nets went on to win their final road game of the season, 139-133.