With Reggie Perry and Jeremiah Martin unavailable down the stretch, the Long Island Nets dropped their second game in a row, this time to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, 105-90, Saturday at Walt Disney World.
Long Island is now 2-5, just short of halfway through the 15-game G League season. They’re now ranked 16th out of 18 teams in the G League “bubble,” and unless they turn things around and make the eight-team playoffs, they’ll be done by March 5.
After trailing by as many as 18 points early due to a flurry of triples from the Vipers - the Rockets’ G League affiliate - the Nets were able to cut into the lead with sound defense and solid shot making, getting it as close as three points near halftime. But Rio Grande’s barrage of triples kept coming after the break and their lead stayed at around 10 points for most of the contest.
Perry, the Nets two-way center, didn’t see the floor after halftime, logging only 11 minutes. He had four points and six rebounds in limited play. Head coach Bret Brielmaier said post-game that he decided to rest Perry who went into the game averaging a 20/10 double-double.
“You know, it’s a combination of the back-to-back, the heavy minutes he’s been playing, and we also wanted to look at some other lineups and some other guys. So, kind of a combination of all things involved, but yeah, we’re definitely looking out for him.” said Brielmaier.
It is primarily about development, after all.
Jeremiah Martin, who played with both Brooklyn and Long Island last year, was ejected from the game after being called for his second technical foul in the fourth quarter. Martin finished with 20 points, four rebounds and three assists on 8-of-16 shooting from the field and a perfect 3-for-3 from the free throw line. Check out his highlights below...
After Martin’s ejection — and Nate Sestina fouling out shorting thereafter — the Vipers lead ballooned and the game quickly got out of reach for Long Island.
The Nets were not without high-level performers, though. BJ Johnson continued his streak of 15+ point games with 24 in today’s outing to go along with 10 boards. Here’s his highlight package...
Tariq Owens, the former St. John’s and Texas Tech shot blocker, added 11 points, nine boards and three blocks to go along with a team-high plus minus of +13 as he filled in for Perry. Despite the loss, Owens saw positives.
“Everybody on our team has the ability to make the little plays and get after it. I’m just fortunate I get put in position by my teammates, you know, their effort and that I can come by and clean it up and help the guys out. So, I didn’t shoot it well today (3-of-10), but my teammates picked me up and hopefully I will be able to do the same for them. So, tomorrow we’re right back at it to try, you know, try to figure it out and keep it going.”
For the Vipers, a pair of “juniors” excelled. Kevin Porter Jr., who the Rockets acquired from the Cavaliers after a dust-up in Cleveland, finished with 29 points, five assists and four 3-pointers. And Kenyon Martin Jr, aka K.J. Martin, tallied 21 points and 18 rebounds.
The Long Island Nets will return to action against the G League Ignite - a non-affiliated G League made up of draft prospects and NBA veterans - on Monday. The game will tip off at 3 plm. ET and be broadcast on ESPN2. Ignite features two ex-Nets as well as teenage firebrands. Donta Hall who played in the “bubble” last season and Jarrett Jack, the 37-year-old who’s providing veteran leadership while trying to get back to the NBA.