After an electric win on Monday, the Long Island Nets dropped the first of a back-to-back set against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the G League affiliate team of the Indiana Pacers, on Wednesday night, 115 to 125.
Long Island took a 115-113 lead with 3:23 remaining off of a RaiQuan Gray running floating hook shot. From there on, they would not score again.
Long Island head coach Adam Caporn explained the disappointing finish for the Long Island:
“[I] don’t want to take anything away from [the Mad Ants], but I thought we could have communicated better, we just missed obvious switches, guys … just had a lot of miscommunications. That’s the main part. I thought we were trying and doing a lot of the right things, but we spent too much of the game getting comfortable. We know they’re talented, they’re hard to handle.”
One such explanation — not an excuse, as Caporn is quick to point out — for the Nets late-game collapse is the fatigue that’s been building for Long Island. After Wednesday’s game, the Nets have played eight games on the young G League season, far and away the most of any team. Fort Wayne has only played four, which is where most teams hover
The Nets have been hit with a wave of injuries as of late, and only had three guards available (of their eight total players) on Wednesday — Craig Randall II, Bryce Brown, and Jordan Crawford. They each logged 40, 42, and 38 minutes on the floor, respectively.
Once again, Randall led the way for the Nets with 35 points. He has been the story of the year for Long Island, coming into the year as a local tryout player only to truly make his mark on the league.
Craig Randall II is up to his old tricks! The @LongIslandNets sniper had a huge first half to give them a 63-60 lead at the break. Catch it live on ESPN+.— NBA G League (@nbagleague) January 20, 2022
21 points - 6 rebounds - 8/13 FG pic.twitter.com/8eYC4aGZaT
Though admittedly dancing around the claim, Caporn anointed Randall as a “star” post-game. Here’s what he said, “It’s incredible what he’s done, he’s a star. It’s not a fluke, it’s not going away, he’s getting better and better, he’s talented and a competitor. His future’s legit.”
Despite his coach’s high praise, Randall was able to stay humble. “I don’t really think about those things. I’m focused on winning games. I just do whatever coach asks, that’s all I’m worried about. I had 35 points, but I had five turnovers. So that’s terrible, in my head.”
Nets guard Bryce Brown tallied 23 points and 10 rebounds in 42 minutes, his second straight double-double. Brown had not yet recorded a G League double-double prior to this week.
As for the Mad Ants, two-way center Terry Taylor led the team with 35 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in 41 minutes. Guard Gabe York tallied 23 points, six rebounds and six assists in 35 minutes.
The Nets will face off against the Mad Ants once again on Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum at 7pm. The game will air on ESPN+ and on the YES app.