The Long Island Nets hold off Indiana Pacers affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, at Nassau Coliseum Thursday, to win their seventh straight game and remain undefeated since All-Star Break, 128-123. The Nets seven-game winning streak is the longest active winning streak in the NBA G League.
Long Island held commanding a lead throughout most of the game, but Fort Wayne came climbing back in the final minute and cut a double-digit deficit to only five points before the Nets put it away. It was the Mad Ants’ seventh straight loss.
With the win, Long Island set a franchise record 28 wins in a season and sit on top of the G League Eastern Conference with seven regular season games left. G League playoffs begin on March 26.
However, the win was marred by an injury to Long Island’s stretch-4, Okaro White, who went down with an apparent right leg injury late in the fourth quarter. White was helped off the court by his teammates putting only light pressure on his leg. The talented power forward recorded 12 points, four rebounds, and three assists in 29 minutes of action. No word yet on the severity of his injury. White has been viewed as a possible late season call-up.
Alan Williams, Nets two-way center, had yet another dominant outing, recording his 25th double-double of the season. Big Sauce recorded 28 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists in the win.
Dzanan Musa had another impressive outing for Long Island scoring 20 points, five rebounds, and three assists in the win.
Tahjere McCall, who is coming off a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets, had a strong game scoring 17 points to go along with four rebounds and three assists in 27 minutes. The Nets will have to make a decision Thursday on whether to extend McCall’s call-up for another 10 days.
Mitch Creek, who won two 10-day contracts with the Nets last month, had 17 points, five rebounds, and two assists in 20 minutes.
For Fort Wayne, Jovan Mooring had a good game recording 28 points, seven assists, and three rebounds in 28 minutes leading the Mad Ants. Mooring played the game without a named jersey!
Stephen Hicks had a good game as well for Fort Wayne scoring 23 points, six rebounds, and three assists in the loss.
With no Theo Pinson, the Nets two-way guard who’s dancing with the Brooklyn Nets, Will Weaver started White, Williams, Musa, McCall, and Jordan McLaughlin.
The two teams started aggressively on offense. Fort Wayne had trouble defending Williams throughout the first quarter and double-teamed the Nets two-way center.
After a couple slow offensive sequences for the Nets halfway through the first, Long Island started to connect. The Nets finished the quarter on a 16-to-0 scoring run. At the beginning of their strong scoring run, Long Island only had 14 points. During their scoring run, Long Island played locked-down man-to-man defense pressuring the Mad Ants into low percentage shots.
Williams had a great first quarter going a perfect 4-of-4 from the field recording 10 points, six rebounds, and four assists leading the Nets. Big Sauce played good defense as well throughout the quarter especially on post up plays.
Musa had a solid quarter as well for Long Island scoring five points to go along with one rebound and one assist.
For the Mad Ants, Hicks had a good first quarter recording six points and two rebounds followed by Gray, who also scored six points to go along with his one assist.
Fort Wayne shot 8-of-24 from the field (33%) and a rough 0-of-4 from behind the arc in the first quarter.
At the end of one, Long Island led 30-20.
Fort Wayne bounced back early in the second quarter going on a 9-to-2 scoring run cutting the Nets lead to single digits. After a scoring run by the Mad Ants, Musa and Williams connected on a beautiful pick-and-roll leading to Musa scoring an and-one.
The Mad Ants shot the three-ball consistently midway through the second leading to the Nets only having a one possession lead. When Williams checked out of the game, the Mad Ants began to drive the ball aggressively.
The Nets ended the first half on a 6-to-0 scoring run increasing their lead to eight.
Williams led the way for the Nets at halftime scoring 16 points, six rebounds, and three assists shooting 7-of-9 from the field. Musa continued to score consistently, especially when driving left, ending the first half with 12 points, one rebound, and one assist.
McCall continued his consistent all-around play in the second ending the first half with 11 points, four rebounds, and two assists.
For Long Island, the team shot 27-of 46 from the field and a solid 10-of-12 from the free throw line. The Nets dominated the boards gathering 26 rebounds and dished out 17 assists.
For Fort Wayne, Mooring had a good half recording a total of 14 points followed by Jackson with 10 points.
The Mad Ants shot shot 21-of-51 from the field and 6-of-10 from behind the arc. Despite Williams dominating the boards, the Mad Ants had 19 rebounds in the first half and 10 total assists.
At half, Long Island led Fort Wayne 66-58.
The beginning of the second half consisted of both teams playing good on both ends of the floor. The Nets did a good job keeping that play consistent throughout the third quarter. The Mad Ants began to struggle on the defensive end midway through the third giving the opportunity to increase their lead.
With 1:43 left in the third, Ike Nwamu excessively shoved Creek down low after the Australian tried to go up for a low post shot. Creek was not happy with the foul and had some words for Nwamu while Shannon Scott and Williams had Creek’s back.
After official review, Nwamu received a flagrant one foul giving Creek two free throws and the ball going back to Long Island. After Creek hit both free throws, he gave the Ants bench a smile.
The Australian did not stop there. Creek scored the final eight points of the quarter for the Nets and ended the third quarter with 13 points.
Williams continued his dominance ending the third quarter with 16 points, six rebounds, and three assists. Musa had a quiet offensive quarter and headed into the fourth with 12 points. McCall went scoreless in the third quarter but when on the court, played solid defense and did a good job keeping the flow of the Nets offense.
At the end of the third, Long Island led Fort Wayne 96-81.
The Mad Ants started the fourth quarter on a 6-to-0 scoring run resulting in Weaver calling a quick timeout with 10:24 left.
With the Nets up by 20 points, 111-91 with 6:18 left, Weaver called a timeout to contest an offensive foul call going against White. After three minutes of official review, the call stood and the Ants got the ball back.
With 4:14 left in the game, White went down with an right leg injury on a contested rebounding play. White was helped off the court by his teammates and taken to the locker room.
Without White, the Nets held on to defeat the Mad Ants but it was not handed over easily.
Final Score: 128-123