Under the bright lights at Barclays Center, the Long Island Nets defeated the Capital City Go-Go, 113-97, in front of 4,278 on Education Day. With the win, Long Island improves to 11-18 on the season while Capital City falls to 14-16.
Of those 4,278, was Kevin Durant who was working out at the arena. Durant was sitting baseline next to the Nets bench, with Adam Harrington, the Brooklyn Nets development director —and his former shooting coach.
Kevin Durant is sitting baseline, next to the Nets bench, with Adam Harrington to watch the Long Island Nets at Barclays Center. pic.twitter.com/Zzhj3BgveV— Chris Milholen (@CMilholenSB) January 29, 2020
“I don’t know how many guys saw KD sitting on the bench there but he is one of the greatest players in the world sitting there watching us,” Shaun Fein said.
The difference in the win was Long Island’s second half play. Fein acknowledged both the Nets offense and defense for their play in the second half.
‘We came out totally different in the second half and were a totally different team,” Fein said following the win. “We had 19 deflections in the second half, only gave up 37 points, and it all started with the guys who started in the second half. When that second unit came in, they just kept it rolling. It feels good, it feels good.”
Justin Anderson had another impressive outing, finishing the win with 22 points, six rebounds, two assists, and two blocks in 34 minutes of play. Anderson shot 8-of-19 overall and 6-of-14 from deep in the win, recording only one turnover.
Justin Anderson put on a show during today’s Education Day game presented by @nationalgridus pic.twitter.com/D63R3Y1ptJ— Long Island Nets (@LongIslandNets) January 29, 2020
Deng Adel had another solid game as well, finishing with 19 points, four rebounds, and three assists followed by Dzanan Musa, assigned to Long Island for the Day. He had 19 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and six turnovers in 22 minutes of play.
One big second half sparkplug was shooting guard Devin Cannady, who addressed the Barclays Center crowd for their Education Day, noting that he too is still in school ... finishing his undergraduate degree at Princeton. Cannady recorded 17 points, three rebounds, and two assists on 6-of-7 from the field and 4-of-5 from deep in 19 minutes of play off the bench.
“Coming off the bench in a new role, I just have to be ready,” Cannady said. “A lot of my teammates tell me to take the open shots and wants me to shoot. I came out shooting, attacked the rim, tried looking for guys. I was real confident.”
Cannady, who has been one of Long Island’s most consistent players this season, said he hasn’t heard from NBA teams about a call-up. His agent was also at the game.
“I haven’t heard anything,” Cannady said. “I’m just staying focused on what I have to do to help this team win.”
Cannady, known for his shooting skills since his high school days in Indiana, also showed he can pass.
.@devin_cannady3 nice find @PrincetonMBB ↗️ @LongIslandNets pic.twitter.com/H2iPSXvnku— NBA G League (@nbagleague) January 29, 2020
Jaylen Hands, the Nets second round pick, played only six minutes with Theo Pinson playing the point and did not shoot the ball in the win. He talked about playing on the Barclays Center court and how it is a destination everyone on his team is eyeing.
“It was nice,” Hands said. “It was a really good court, has a lot of history behind it. It was cool to have fans out there, especially kids. It was a really cool experience and clearly a destination we all want to get to.”
Jeremiah Martin, the Nets newly signed two-way, had said he was looking forward to playing at Barclays, his first time playing on an NBA court. He finished with nine points, five rebounds and six assists.
As a team, the Nets did not shoot —or play— well in the first 12 minutes of play but ended the win shooting 41-of-93 from the field and 14-of-40 from deep. Long Island recorded 14 turnovers.
Fein started Musa, Pinson, Anderson, Chris Chiozza and Jonathan Kasibabu.
The two teams began the game more than a bit sloppy. The game, in fact, remained stagnant until the final three minutes of the first. The Go-Go began to gain an offensive rhythm,the With 2:41 remaining, Capital City called timeout with a 23-18 lead.
As a team, the Nets shot 8-of-25 (32 percent) overall and 1-of-10 (10 percent) from deep. Long Island recorded four turnovers in the first. Musa led the Nets in first quarter scoring with six points on 2-of-5 shooting from the field and 0-of-1 from deep in six minutes of play.
The second quarter kicked off with the officials handing Jalen Hudson of Capital City a technical foul following arguing with an official. Once the Nets began to pull some momentum together, their front-court took a hit. With 8:39 remaining in the half, Kasibabu went down for Long Island with an apparent right ankle injury and was helped off the court and headed to the locker room.
Despite losing Kasibabu, the Nets went to a small-ball offense midway through the second and played well. Although Long Island played well offensively, their defense was shaky throughout the second, especially inside the three-point arc and in the paint.
Neither team had the upper hand in the final minutes of the half. The Nets fed off of the crowd and played with higher energy but struggled to close the half with a one possession deficit.
At the end of the first half, the Nets trailed the Go-Go 60-51.
The Nets shot better in the second quarter compared to the first 12 minutes of play, especially from inside the three-point arc. Long Island ended the first half shooting 17-of-47 overall (36 percent) and 6-of-22 from deep (27 percent). The Nets were consistent from the charity strike, going 7-of-9 (78 percent) at the half but turned over the ball five times in the second, ending the half with nine total turnovers.
Anderson led Long Island in scoring at the half. He recorded 14 points, four rebounds, one assists, and two blocks in 19 minutes of play. Anderson shot 5-of-11 overall and 4-of-8 from deep, splitting time as a four and five. Musa scored 10 points in 12 first half minutes for the Nets.
Long Island began the third on a 9-4 scoring run to pull closer to taking their first lead since the first quarter. With 7:03 left in the third, the Nets tied up the game at 64 following a breakaway dunk by Anderson.
As the third quarter progressed, both teams exchanged baskets, primarily inside the three-point arc. Long Island turned it on in the closing minute of the third, ending the quarter on a 10-4 scoring run.
At the end of the third, Long Island led Capital City 83-79.
As a team, the Nets ended the third quarter shooting 10-of-31 from deep (32 percent) and 29-of-71 (41 percent) overall. The Nets only turned over the ball twice in the third.
Long Island had a great fourth quarter, scoring a total of 30 points while playing well on the defensive end. The Nets did a good job moving the ball, looking for the open shooter or a cutter to the basket. Long Island played small-ball for a majority of the fourth quarter and pulled out with the win.
Before Long Island begins a lengthy road trip, covering most of the month of February, the Nets will travel to White Plains to take on the Westchester Knicks, the New York Knicks G League affiliate, on Saturday February 1 at 7:00 p.m.
It was uncetain as of 4 p.m. whether Musa and Pinson will return to Brooklyn’s roster in time for the 7:30 p.m. gave vs. Detroit.