Talk about a tight turnaround!
After playing a game Wednesday night (7:30 tip) the Long Island Nets were right back at it Thursday afternoon taking on the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Fort Wayne, the Pacers G League affiliate. No surprise Mad Ants eventually won the contest, 109-95.
The Nets, however, could take some solace from another big game from two-way Reggie Perry. Perry, who had 18 in the first half, finished with 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting overall, draining 2-of-3 from deep. Perry is now shooting 45.5 percent from 3-point range, a big part of his development progress in Disney World. He’s averaging 18.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists.
Here’s his highlights...
Long Island, no doubt suffering from fatigue, went down 17-7 early, then 25-7 before Kaiser Gates hit two three’s. Still, by the end of the first, the Nets were looking at 35-22 deficit to a team with a 3-6 record.
After mounting an impressive comeback in the second quarter that gave them a one-point halftime lead, the Nets lead slowly eroded in the second half, eventually snowballing into a double-digit deficit late in the fourth quarter.
Coach Bret Brielmaier admitted that fatigue was a big factor.
“The fatigue part is real, there’s no denying that, but still we won’t use that as an excuse. The ball got stagnant offensively and we took some tough shots, and on the defensive end we made them miss and they were able to get the offensive rebounds. I think they had 13 more shots than us, but it just snowballed and compiled from there.”
The Nets had won the two previous games against Team Ignite and Agua Caliente Clippers, but dropping this one keeps them on the outside looking in the playoff picture. I asked Brielmaier about what he’d tell his locker room following a tough loss and the team’s five remaining games. They’re now a game and a half out of the playoffs.
“We’ll stay with what we do everyday. Our habits, our process, we’ll get our recovery started as soon as we get back to the hotel, and we’ll look at the tape, clean some stuff up tomorrow, and we’ll continue to get better as a group.”
Jeremiah Martin chipped in 17 points on an inefficient 6-for-17 shooting as well (including hsi second straight 1-of-5 from deep). The Nets other big, Tariq Owens, had an impressive performance of 10 points and 5 blocks, as well as one poster finish...
When I asked forward Kaiser Gates about the Nets momentum in the second half, he said that they needed to do a better job of helping Owens out:
“[I] feel like we weren’t helping out Tariq, if he had come out and helped out on the low side, we wouldn’t have had his back. So that was detrimental for us, for real.”
Coach Brielmaier echoed those thoughts:
“[A] big thing is just to be able to keep your guy in front with us continuing to switch in pick-and-roll, and we struggled to do that tonight.”
As for the Mad Ants, big man Oshae Brisset shined, with 24 points and a poster dunk of his own. Devin Robinson and Naz Mitrou-Long produced off the bench, with 17 and 16 points respectively.
The Long Island Nets will play next against the Santa Cruz Warriors on Saturday. The game will tip off at 3:30pm. ET and be broadcast on ESPN+.