While the Brooklyn took on the challenging Chicago Bulls on Saturday night, the Nets’ G League squad — the Long Island Nets — were away in Delaware facing the Blue Coats, the Philadelphia 76ers affiliate.
Despite star performances from some prominent young Nets players, Kessler Edwards in particular, Long Island lost its second straight, 110-125. They now hold a 2-6 record on the “showcase” part of the NBA G League season.
Saturday night marked the first matchup for the Nets affiliate since November 23rd, 11 days ago. The G League schedule took an informal break around the holidays as players returned home to be with their families for Thanksgiving.
One player, however, did not spend Thanksgiving back at home. Point guard Josh Gray had spent the last two weeks alongside various other G League players with USA Basketball as part of the FIBA World Cup qualifying games.
Thankful for the time spent with our #USABFamily— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) November 26, 2021
From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving pic.twitter.com/FwgPsL0N6c
Gray returned for Long Island against the Blue Coats, and though he struggled with putting the ball in the basket — a mere two points on 1-of-4 shooting — he was able to dish out a team-high 9 assists to teammates.
The main story, beyond the loss, was the play of Brooklyn’s rookies who led the way on Saturday night. Most notable was the play of Kessler Edwards. Edwards, a 6’7, 203 pound forward, amassed 23 points and 17 rebounds against the Blue Coats. 16 of his boards came on the defensive end of the floor, where the Pepperdine product continues to make an impact for the Nets.
Edwards shot 9-of-18 including 3-of-10 from deep. He had only one free throw in 38 minutes.
Kessler Edwards posted a GROWN MAN’S double-double tonight for the @LongIslandNets. ✊— NBA G League (@nbagleague) December 5, 2021
23 points | 17 REBOUNDS | 9-18 FG pic.twitter.com/Vq81qE98Fy
Offseason acquisition Bryce Brown had yet another heater in Delaware, scoring 23 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including 6-of-8 on his attempts from behind the arc.
I guess we just have to tweet "DOWNTOWN BRYCE BROWN" every game ♂️@Bwb_2 pic.twitter.com/M8xkYWnGLQ— Long Island Nets (@LongIslandNets) December 5, 2021
Craig Randall ll continues to prove he belongs. After joining the Nets as a local tryout player, Randall has solidified his spot in the starting lineup. The 25-year-old scored 16 points on Saturday while also notching six assists as he continues to work on his playmaking.
Day’Ron Sharpe manned the middle for Long Island and finished the game with 18 points and 6 rebounds. It was an up-and-down showing for the first round pick, though. He also finished the evening with 5 fouls and 5 turnovers.
The Nets two late draft picks, Marcus Zegarowski, taken at No. 49, and RaiQuan Gray, taken at No. 59, both finished with 10 points. The 6’8” Gray also had eight boards and four assists while the 6’2” Zegarowski finished 2-of-4 from three. Sharpe, Gray and Zegarowski all had four or more turnovers. Long Island finished with 22 for the night.
As for Delaware, former NBAer Shaquille Harrison had yet another standout performance against Long Island. The guard had an all-around performance of 23 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
The full game is available for replay here:
The Nets will return to Nassau Coliseum for a home tilt against the College Park Skyhawks, the G League affiliate team of the Atlanta Hawks, on Thursday, December 9. The game will be the first of two matchups against College Park, each tipping off at 7 pm ET. Thursday’s game will air on ESPN+ and on the YES App.