Sunday afternoon’s game against the G League Ignite’ may not have counted in the standings for the Long Island Nets, but there was heightened importance for each player on the roster. And they executed, beating the league’s highly touted development squad, 111-99.
Craig Randall II continued his high-scoring ways, tallying 22 points on 9-of-18 shooting. It was the ninth time in 10 games that Randall dropped 20+ points. His improvements as an all-around player showed too registering four rebounds and six assists in 37 minutes. Randall also provided more than one highlight...
He was one of seven Nets to finish in double figures. Josh Gray who had 15 and two Long Island wings, David Duke Jr. and Brandon Rachal ,who put up 14 points each. RaiQuan Gray, the Nets 59th pick in the 2021 Draft, had one of his best games of the season: 11 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block.
Pre-game, head coach Adam Caporn contended that the team hasn’t put any extra emphasis on the matchup, but the Nets players were obviously aware of the extra attention paid to the game.
Bryce Brown said beforehand that “it is definitely a game we look forward to because, it’s a very eye-opening game, but a lot of people are watching it just because Ignite is just such a big name team. So now we’re looking to try to, you know, make a name for ourselves.”
Caporn is aware of his players’ ambitions, saying, “The nature of the G League is you always want to individually perform well, and move somewhere else — move up.”
After a first half in which neither team saw a lead by more than one or two possessions, the Nets extended their advantage to 10 points early into the second half of action.
The Nets would maintain their double-digit lead through the third quarter, entering the fourth up ten points. Taking advantage of points off turnovers, Long Island would explode for a 9-0 run early into the fourth. Their lead would balloon to as many as 19 points in the final period.
The game also marked undrafted Nets rookie Duke’s return to the G League. After a long stint in Brooklyn that saw him play a big role —including two double-doubles — when the Nets were short handed as well as being featured in the starting lineup.
Duke Jr. didn’t have a good shooting night, going 4-of-16, but he added nine rebounds — three offensive — and 4 assists.
Postgame, he explained that playing with so many new teammates has been an adjustment, but is just looking to expand his game while with Long Island.
“Definitely an adjustment for sure,” Duke said. “From Brooklyn to Long Island, it’s a different style of play. Also, the spacing’s just a little different. Overall, it definitely is different.”
Caporn said he and the rest of Long Island’s coaching staff took into account Duke’s transition, with the coach saying pregame:
“We’re aligned very tightly with [the] Brooklyn [Nets] with our terminology, system. [As for] our plans for [David] Duke and the work we do with him, there may be some moments that we’re still finding our feet, but our message to him is just be excited and have some fun. If you need to know something, ask. If you need something [else,] talk to your teammates. But our job is to help him fit in. Excited to have him back.”
The newly signed Thon Maker was on hand for the afternoon game at Nassau, but didn’t play. Caporn who worked with Maker in Australia, had positive comments about the 7’1” center prior to the game.
“Excited about the possibility of it,” said Caporn. “Thon’s a great player and we’ll see how that goes.”
The 24-year-old is expected to make his G League debut on Tuesday.
The Ignite were led by forward MarJon Beauchamp, who notched 24 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in 34 minutes. Ignite center Michael Foster Jr. added 19 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes.
The Nets resume their regular season push (G League Ignite contests don’t count in the standings) on Tuesday against the College Park Skyhawks, the G League affiliate team of the Atlanta Hawks. The game will tip off at 7p.m. and will be carried ESPN+.
Sean Marks was on hand for the game.
- Game Report: Long Island Nets 111, Team Ignite 99 (with Video) - G League
- Long Island Nets Highlights vs. G League Ignite (Video) - G League
- Craig Randall II (22 points) Highlights vs. G League Ignite (Video) - G League
- RaiQuan Gray Posts 11 points & 13 rebounds vs. G League Ignite (Video) - G League