The Long Island Nets are one win away from the G League championship after taking Game 1 of the NBA G League Finals, defeating the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Rockets’ affiliate, 117-107, at the Island Federal Arena in Stony Brook.
The Nets were led by Thomas Wimbush and Dzanan Musa, both of whom finished with 23 points, and Alan Williams who had 19 points and 16 rebounds. It was another strong game for all three. Long Island had five players in double-figures in the Game 1 win.
Wimbush recorded 23 points, six rebounds, and two assists in the win. The Nets forward was 3-of-4 from behind the arc and 7-of-11 from the field. The 6’7” shooting guard recorded two blocks as well.
Musa recorded 23 points as well for Long Island. Musa shot 6-of-17 from the field in the win and played great defense, which was the big X-Factor in the win.
Jordan McLaughlin, the Nets crafty sixth man, had a strong first quarter scoring 10 points and finished with 21 points, eight rebounds, and three assists.
Despite a slow first half, both Nets two-way players played well in the second half. Theo Pinson turned it on in the closing minutes of the third and particularly the fourth, helping Long Island go up by more than 20. The Nets two-way guard recorded 13 points, six rebounds, and two rebounds.
The Vipers had four players in double-figures. Jordan Johnson led the team with 23 points, eight rebounds, and two assists.
Isaiah Hartenstein had a solid outing after experiencing trouble scoring in the first half due to the Nets good defense down low but the big man turned it on late finishing with 21 points, 17 rebounds, and two assists.
Gary Payton II also did not play well in the first half as well but got in a rhythm in the second half. Son of the Glove finished with 17 points, six rebounds, and two steals.
Will Weaver started Pinson, McCall, Musa, Thomas Wimbush, and Williams for Game 1.
The Nets started the game on an 8-0 scoring run holding the Vipers scoreless till the nine minute mark. Long Island hit three three’s in the opening minutes. After a small scoring run by the Vipers, the Nets started to pull away. With 5:00 left in the first, Long Island led 23-9. The Nets had everything working for them in the first.
Long Island played good defense, especially when the Vipers were in transition and pushing the ball. On the offensive end, Long Island hit a total of eight three pointers in the first quarter alone.
Jordan McLaughlin played a great first quarter providing a big boost off the bench. The six-foot guard recorded 10 first quarter points leading all scorers.
At the end of one, Long Island led Rio Grande Valley 37-18. Nets shot 52% from the field while the Vipers shot a rough 29%.
Both teams began the second quarter putting points on the board. Long Island did a great job controlling Hartenstein, who is one of the G League’s best rebounders and inside scorers. The Vipers kept going to Hartenstein on the offensive end hoping to draw themselves back into the game. With 6:15 left in the first, the Vipers trailed by only 10 points.
The Nets did not have a good second quarter. The Vipers were consistent from the offensive end and locked down the Nets on their defensive end. After trailing by 19 points at the end of the first, Rio Grande Valley climbed back and cutting their deficit to single digits.
On the bright side, the Nets played a good final two minutes on both ends closing the first half with a 10 point lead, 59-49.
Wimbush led the Nets with 14 points, three rebounds, and one assist. McLaughlin, after an impressive first quarter, was scoreless in the second.
The Nets two-way players were quiet offensively in the first half. Pinson recorded nine points, three rebounds, and two assists followed by Williams with six points and nine rebounds.
For the Vipers, Hartenstein had a good second period following a rough first 12 minutes. The center recorded a first half double-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and one assist. Johnson had a good first half recording 12 points and five rebounds.
The Vipers came out of halftime pushing the tempo on the offensive end and cutting their deficit. The Nets started the second half driving the ball but could not connect. Long Island had trouble finding some rhythm in the opening minutes.
Long Island started to gain some rhythm midway through the third quarter but their defense held the Nets lead intact. In the closing minutes of the game, the Vipers went out 4-2 but still trailed by 24 heading into the fourth.
At the end of three, the Nets lead 90-76.
Wimbush continued his strong play on both ends of the floor leading the Nets with 21 points, five rebounds, and one assist. Musa had a good third recording 17 total points, two rebounds, and two assists,
For the Vipers, they had two players with 20+ points after three. Hartenstein recorded 21 points, 17 rebounds, and two assists followed by Johnson with 20 points and six rebounds. Payton II turned it on after having a slow first half scoring 17 points heading into the fourth.
Williams began to turn it on offensively to start the fourth quarter. Wimbush and Musa did a great job leading the Nets in the first four minutes of the fourth. The Nets did a good job on the defensive end locking down the Vipers.
With 2:10 left in the game, Weaver took out his starters and released the bench on the court with the Nets up 117-96. The Vipers’ Diamond Stone hit a few threes to make it look closer.
The Nets will travel to Edinburg, Texas for Game 2 Tuesday at the Vipers home court. A win there and Long Island is the champs. A loss and it’s back to Stony Brook on Friday for Game 3.
The announced attendance was 2,431, six fewer than the Eastern Conference title game last Tuesday at Nassau Coliseum.
- Game Report: Long Island Nets 117 , Rio Grande Vipers 107 (with Video) - G League
- Long Island Nets vs. Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Video) - G League
- Dzanan Musa with 23 points vs. Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Video) - G League
- Thomas Wimbush with 23 points vs. Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Video) - G League
- Jordan McLaughlin with 21 points vs. Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Video) - G League
- Nets win first game of G League Finals - Laura Amato - Newsday