The Long Island Nets held off the Cavaliers’ affiliate, the Canton Charge, at Nassau Coliseum Monday, to remain undefeated since All-Star break. Final score: Long Island 106 - 102.
The win keeps the Nets in first place in the G League Eastern Conference with only nine regular season games left. Long Island had six players in double-figures making it the fourth straight game at least five Nets have scored more than 10 points.
Nets two-way center, Alan Williams led the way for Long Island, coming just shy of his usual double-double performance recording 20 points and eight rebounds.
Dzanan Musa had a strong all-around outing scoring 17 points, grabbing six rebounds, and handing out six assists. Musa hit 5-of-9 from three. This was the first time that Musa didn’t start for Long Island. Theo Pinson was with Brooklyn Monday, playing seven minutes without scoring.
Jordan McLaughlin had another impressive game recording 16 points, three assists, and two rebounds. The 6-foot 1-inch guard led the way in minutes for Long Island with 33.
Tahjere McCall, who is currently on a 10-day deal with the Brooklyn Nets, was on assignment in Long Island and had another strong all-around outing with 15 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Mitch Creek had 12 points, eight rebounds, and two assists.
Shooting guard Josh Newkirk, who was acquired via trade in February, had a good game going 4-of-7 from the field and 3-of-5 from behind the arc recording 14 points in 12 minutes.
As a team, Long Island shot 43-of-94 from the field (46 percent) and 9-of-27 from three (33 percent).
For the Canton Charge, Malik Newman scored a career-high 30 points.
Deng Adel and Jaron Blossomgame had good outings for the Charge scoring 17 points a piece as well.
As a team, Canton shot 39-of-89 from the field (44 percent) and 8-of-26 from behind the arc (31 percent)
Will Weaver started Okaro White, McCall, Williams, Creek, and McLaughlin.
Both teams started the first six minutes of the game driving the ball and scoring down low. Long Island played did a good job locking down the Charge in the closing minutes of the first. On top of their strong defense, the Nets consistently scored on the offensive end.
Big Sauce led the way for the Nets in the opening quarter recording nine points and four rebounds. McCall had a good opening quarter with six points followed by Creek with six points as well.
At the end of one, Long Island led Canton 26-22.
Long Island and the Charge started the second quarter aggressively scoring the ball. The Nets struggled to defend the paint leading to the Charge taking the lead with 10:00 left in the half. Long Island did a great job of converting on transition points midway through the second increasing their lead. The Nets continued their strong scoring in the paint and ended the half with a three point lead.
Big Sauce recorded 11 points at the half followed by McCall with 10 points. Creek had a quiet second quarter offensively scoring only two points but ending the first half with eigh points.
At half, the Nets led the Charge 51-48.
The Charge struck first in the second half cutting Long Island’s lead to one possession. With 6:57 left in the third, Weaver called a timeout with his team up by three. Following the timeout, the Nets started to get it going consistently on the offensive end; especially scoring on drives.
In the closing seconds of the third, Big Sauce put up an off-balance three increasing the Nets lead to 10 heading into the fourth.
Williams, who ended the quarter on the impressive three, recorded 16 points heading into the fourth followed by Creek with 10 points. McLaughlin did a good job driving the ball with aggression recording eight points and two assists.
At the end of three, Long Island led 77-64.
Long Island played a good first half to the fourth on both ends of the floor. The Nets did a good job converting turnovers into transition drives. The final six minutes on the other hand did not quite go as planned for the Nets.
Canton charged their way back into the game in the final minutes. The Charge played good all-around offense cutting the Nets lead to only four points with 3:00 minutes left in the game.
Despite their lead being cut to two possessions, the Nets held on late to beat the Charge.
With the win, the Nets are a game on top of the Eastern Conference. Lakeland is a game back and is the only team with a serious chance of catching Long Island. The Westchester Knicks remain two and a half back but have only six games left to catch the Nets.
The Nets look to extend their winning streak to seven games when they take on the Fort Wayne Mad Ants on March 6.