The Long Island Nets advanced to the G League Eastern Conference Finals Friday after taking down the Toronto Raptors affiliate, Raptors 905, 112-99. It was the organization’s first playoff game in its three-year history.
Long Island will face the Lakeland Magic in the conference finals on Tuesday. Like tonight’s game, the Eastern Conference Finals will be a win-or-go-home game. The winner will advance to the NBA G League Finals, which is a Best-of-3 series.
We’re heading to the EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS pic.twitter.com/LkdRrOi4K3— Long Island Nets (@LongIslandNets) March 30, 2019
The Nets showed off their remarkably deep bench, putting six players in double-figures in their first ever playoff win. All Nets starters scored in double-figures, including two double-double performances.
Tahjere McCall, who had a 10-day with Brooklyn earlier in the month, led the Nets in scoring with 22 points to go along with five rebounds and three assists.
Dzanan Musa scored 21 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and handed out three assists in the win.
Both Nets two-way players had good games for Long Island. Nets two-way guard, Theo Pinson, recorded 20 points, four rebounds, and seven assists. Alan Williams, the Nets two-way center, recorded another double-double scoring 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Mitch Creek has a solid all-around game for Long Island, also recording a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. He also provided his usual — and unapologetic— physical game.
The 905 had four players in double-figures. Chris Boucher led the way with 27 points, six rebounds, and one assist. Wade Baldwin IV recorded 18 points, eight rebounds, and four assists followed by Jordan McIntosh and their two-way guard Jordan Lloyd, who recorded 13 points each.
The Raptors 905, who won the G League championship in two years ago and got to the Finals last season, but Long Island led the entire second half, at one point sprinting out to a 21-point advantage.
Will Weaver had his top weapons ready to play starting Pinson, McCall, Williams, Musa, and Creek.
The Nets started the first quarter struggling to get a basket. Long Island went 0-of-3 on offensive possessions before Pinson hit a three with 9:57 left in the first leading to a 9-0 scoring run.
With 5:39 left in the first, Weaver, the newly minted G League coach of the year, subbed in Thomas Wimbush, Jordan McLaughlin, and Kamari Murphy in the game. Musa and McCall remained in the game during the substitutions. Following the subs, the Nets started to put together an all-around sequence. After Murphy pinned a layup against the backboard, Musa drove the ball up the floor feeding the cutting McCall leading to two made foul shots.
Pinson drilled a long range three, just inside of half court to give the Nets a 30-29 lead at the first quarter buzzer.
The Nets two-way guard led the Nets in first scoring scoring with 10 points, one rebound, and one assist. McCall had a strong first recording nine points and one rebound followed by Musa with five points, three rebounds, and one assist.
For 905, Wade Baldwin IV recorded nine points, five rebounds, and one assist followed by Boucher with eight points and one rebound.
Both teams struggled to put points on the board in the opening minutes of the first. Pinson continued his strong play in the early minutes of the second scoring a quick four points.
The Nets closed out the second quarter with a strong lead heading into halftime. At the half, the Nets led 67-52.
The Nets had three players in double-figures at the half. Pinson had a great first half for Long Island. The Nets two-way guard recorded 16 points, two rebounds, and two assists. McCall continued his strong play recording 14 points, two rebounds, and two assists followed by Musa with 11 points, six rebounds, and one assist.
Long Island shot 25-of-53 from the field (47 percent) and 4-of-14 from behind the arc (29 percent). Nets did a good job getting to the foul line connecting 13-of-15 on free throws (87%).
For Raptors 905, they had three players in double-figures as well heading into halftime. Baldwin IV led the way with 16 points followed by McIntosh with 11 and Boucher with 10 points.
The Raptors 905 shot 20-of-46 from the field (43 percent) and 5-of-15 from behind the arc (33 percent). The 905 did not get to the foul line as much as Long Island did but were consistent, going 7-of-8 (88%).
With 8:29 left in the third, Williams and McIntosh got into a small scuffle along the sideline. The officials went to the monitors to review the play and after a three minute review, both players were handed technicals.
Less than two minutes later, Lloyd picked up another technical foul for the Raptors 905 for words said towards an official. The 905 were down 17 with 6:51 left in the third. Boucher then picked up a technical foul a minute later for arguing with an official.
The Raptors 905 changed their defensive strategy, switching to a 1-2-2 zone hoping to slow down the Nets offense. With 1:29 left in the third, Boucher connected on a four point play cutting the 905’s deficit to only 10 points.
At the end of three, the Nets led 86-79.
The Nets opened the fourth hitting back-to-back threes then drawing an offensive foul on Boucher, Boucher picked up his fifth foul erupting the Nets bench and sparking the Coliseum crowd back up. Nets started the opening minutes of the fourth on a 8-to-0 scoring run.
With 3:30 left in the game, Weaver called a quick timeout with his team up by 20, 110-90.
The Nets took full control in the final minutes of the fourth. Weaver cleared his bench in the closing minute of the game.
Prior to the game, the G League presented the coach and executive of the year awards to Weaver and GM Trajan Langdon.
Long Island Nets head coach Will Weaver and GM Trajan Langdon accepting their G League Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year awards.— Justin Walters (@JustinWaltersTV) March 29, 2019
It’s well deserved. The #Nets reached the playoffs for the first time in their 3 year existence. #Wegohard pic.twitter.com/6lE72xob6x