The Nets were short-handed, having only eight active players for the second straight game Sunday. Deng Adel and CJ Massinburg were ruled out with lower leg injuries while Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot is with Brooklyn and Henry Ellenson’s replacement wasn’t quite ready to play.
Chris Chiozza, the Nets new two-way guard, did not suit up for Long Island. Following the game, Chiozza was seen rolling his luggage into the locker room. He had been playing for the Capital City Go-Go, the Wizards’ affiliate.
Shaun Fein acknowledged the resiliency and fight his team has displayed all season. Although he likes the passion of his team, Fein said they have to be better for a full game even if they have only eight healthy bodies on the bench.
“I know we are a little short handed with only eight guys but we got to be better for 48 minutes,” Fein said following Sunday’s loss.
When asked about when he believes reinforcements will arrive for his short-handed Nets team, Fein said he doesn’t know when Adel and Massinburg will return. He hopes Chiozza will stay with his team rather than spend most of his time with Brooklyn.
“Chris is here,” Fein said following Sunday’s loss. “Hopefully he will be with us on the road trip.”
“His leadership,” Fein said of Chiozza’s greatest advantage. “He can control the game, control the tempo and has a great feeel for the game. He is a big time competitor. He had a lot of success in college, a lot of success last year, and even this year in the G League. Someone on the defensive end who can get into people, make people uncomfortable, and run the team on the other side. I am looking forward to working with him.”
Chiozza isn’t the only reinforcement expected in the next few games. Nicolas Claxton, who’s been recuperating from a hamstring issue, is expected to get minutes in the G League.
Despite dropping their third straight game and falling to 6-14 on the season, the Nets had seven of their eight active players finish in double-figures.
Ash Yacoubou, the 6’4” New York native, provided a spark to the Nets Sunday, especially from behind the arc, finishing with a double-double of 22 points and 13 rebounds. The wing shot 7-of-15 overall and 6-of-12 from deep in 34 minutes of play.
C.J. Williams, the Long Island Nets veteran, scored 22 points in the loss. The 6’5” Williams shot 7-of-14 overall and 6-of-12 from deep in 28 minutes of play.
John Egbunu, a 6’11” big, has been one of Long Island’s most consistent players this season, had another good game, scoring 18 points and eight rebounds in 25 minutes of play. Egbunu tallied 25 minutes of play off the bench.
As a team, the Nets finished their third straight loss going 45-of-108 from the field and 23-of-56 from deep. Long Island recorded 14 total turnovers in the loss.
Fein and the Nets coaching staff started Yacoubou, Williams, Jaylen Hands, Devin Cannady,and Jonathan Kasibabu.
Both teams traded baskets in the opening minutes of the game. With 7:50 left in the first, the Nets called timeout, leading 13-11. The Nets struggled to lock down Wisconsin’s perimeter shooters throughout the quarter. The Herd focused their offense around three point shooting and finished the quarter going 5-of-13 from deep.
At the end of one, the Herd led the Nets 33-29.
Cannady and Kasibabu tallied six points each to lead the Nets in first quarter scoring.
As a team, the Nets finished the first quarter shooting 10-of-26 overall and 5-of-13 from deep. In addition to their consistent shooting, Long Island recorded only two first quarter turnovers.
The second quarter was all about the Herd’s three point shooting. The Nets struggled to defend the three-point arc, especially off drive-and-kick plays. The Herd made a total of 14 threes in the second, making nine of them.
The Nets offense was not as bad as their defense in the second. Long Island did a good job spacing the floor and moving the ball. Although the positives on the offensive end, the Nets struggled taking care of the ball, coughing up six turnovers in the second quarter.
At the half, the Nets trailed the Herd 72-51. The Herd outscored the Nets 39-22 in the second quarter.
Joe Cremo, signed as a shooter last month, and Egbunu, who rarely shoots from outside the paint, led the Nets in first half scoring eight points a piece.
After a sluggish second quarter, the Nets began to gain momentum and to chop at their deficit. With 6:17 left in the third, Fein and the Nets called a timeout, trailing 88-74. Despite making a small push on the offensive end, the Herd started to pick it up on the offensive end, ending the quarter with a 13 point lead.
At the end of the third, the Nets trailed 106-93.
The Nets started the final 12 minutes of play playing with more energy, especially on the offensive end. With 7:45 left in the fourth, the Herd called an early timeout, in hopes of slowing Long Island’s momentum. Following the timeout, the Herd began to pick it up, minimizing the Nets momentum.
After trailing by only 10 points in the final minute of play, the Nets could not overcome the deficit, dropping their third straight game, losing 140-128.
Hands and Cannady, who have had rough shooting nights recently, finished with 17 and 13 respectively. Hands finished 5-of-13 and 3-of-7 from deep while Cannady was 6-of-19, including 4-of-10 from three. Cremo, who played at Albany and Villanova, scored 16.
Long Island begin their small road trip Wednesday, January 5 when they face Grand Rapids Drive.