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Long Island Nets drop second in a row, lose 104-98 to Westchester Knicks

Long Island Nets v Westchester Knicks Photo by Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images

The Long Island Nets are on their first losing streak of the season Wednesday after losing to the Westchester Knicks, 104-98, at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. Despite keeping the game within a few possessions the entire way, Brooklyn’s G League squad was never able to string together enough stops and scores to reclaim the lead.

The Nets now fall to 1-3 on the young G League season. Four Long Islanders, led by Craig Randall II, a 6’5” swingman, finished in double figures.

After a slow start out of the gates, the Nets gathered themselves for a strong run to take command early. A Westchester timeout halted their momentum, though, and the Knicks countered with a strong run of their own. Westchester led 31-24 at the end of the first quarter.

The game of runs continued in the second period of action. A short Long Island spurt was quieted by Westchester, who extended their lead into double digits for an extended period of time. The Nets answered with a flurry of three-point bombs — three from Craig Randall ll — and only trailed by four points at halftime.

As the second half began, Westchester struck first but Long Island never allowed New York’s G League team to create much distance. And with 3:50 remaining in the quarter, the Nets had cut the lead back down to four points, just where it was at half time. Long Island entered the final period of play down 87 to 82.

It was more of the same in the fourth quarter. Westchester pushed their lead to nearly double digits multiple times, but the Nets wouldn’t go down without a fight. With 3:07 remaining, Long Island trailed 99-93.

Long Island tried to cut into that 6 point lead for minutes with attempts from 3, with one finally falling for Marcus Zegarowski with a minute left. Nets employed a full-court press on each ensuing Knicks possession, leaving Westchester with ample opportunities to keep Brooklyn’s G League team at bay.

Long Island standout and Brooklyn second round draft pick Kessler Edwards was with the NBA Nets on Wednesday evening as they took on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Brooklyn’s roster has been thin, notably at the forward positions and brought up Edwards.

On Monday afternoon, it was announced that Long Island starting point guard Josh Gray was named to Team USA in the upcoming FIBA World Cup Qualifying Games. The Nets posted a video of Gray reflecting on his dream come true:

Long Island subsequently added guard Isaiah Wright from the available player pool to replace Gray. Wright will be eligible to play for Long Island beginning on Nov. 20.

Wright appeared in seven games (six starts) for the Stockton Kings during the 2019-20 season, and averaged 5.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 24.6 minutes per game.

He was originally acquired by Stockton with the 23rd pick in the third round of the 2019 NBA G League Draft.

Brandon Rachal was Long Island’s best player against Westchester, notching a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Five of those boards came on the offensive end, as Rachal would repeatedly salvage what had looked like lost possessions for the Nets.

Randall ll, the only player on Long Island’s roster signed off a local tryout, impressed on Wednesday evening. Randall scored 17 points and grabbed six rebounds.

As for the Knicks, Miles “Deuce” McBride showed up in Westchester’s home opener. The New York Knick draft night acquisition had 25 points and 9 assists, though shit shooting night wasn’t too efficient —McBride shot 10-of-24 from the field. Luka Samanic, who the Knicks signed to a two-way deal after he was dumped by the Spurs, had 28 points and nine rebounds for Westchester.

The game was played in Bridgeport because the Knicks home court, at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, is being used as a COVID vaccination center.

The Long Island Nets will open a home back-to-back against the Raptors 905, the Toronto Raptors’ G League club, on Friday. The game is scheduled to start at 7pm and will be available on NBAGLeague.com.