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Long Island Nets fall to College Park Skyhawks, 105-102, squander lead in final minutes

Long Island Nets v College Park Skyhawks Photo by Chamberlain Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

The Long Island Nets suffered their sixth defeat of the G League regular season on Tuesday night, falling to the College Park Skyhawks, the G League affiliate team of the Atlanta Hawks, 105 to 102. The team has yet to achieve two straight wins or losses (since Sunday’s victory against G League Ignite does not count in the league standings) since early January.

After leading by nine points with under six minutes, the Skyhawks mounted a run led by Cat Barber and Jalen Johnson, a Hawks draft pick in 2021. College Park tied the game at 98 with a little under two minutes remaining, and then subsequently jumped ahead by a basket. Long Island evened the score on the ensuing possession, with the next made field goal coming with 21 seconds remaining. Brooklyn rookie David Duke Jr. nailed a free-throw line fadeaway after creating some separation with a slight push-off as he posted up.

Atlanta rookie Jalen Johnson would respond on the other end by wrecking havoc down low, grabbing his own miss for an And-1 putback. The Nets were unable to convert in their following opportunities, and dropped what was ultimately a very winnable game.

“I was proud of the way we defended tonight, and it certainly helped us to have our full team of guys out there working together again,” said Skyhawks head coach Steve Gansey. “Especially late in the game, I thought they did a great job of digging down deep and getting stops when we needed it.”

Tuesday’s matchup marked former NBA lottery pick Thon Maker’s debut with the Long Island Nets. As was reported by NetsDaily on January 22nd, and then made official by the team the next day, Maker, the South Sudanese-Australian center signed with the team in an attempt to make an NBA comeback.

In his debut, Maker scored four points on 1-of-2 shooting and grabbed three rebounds in eleven minutes but committed three personals. Here’s his first G League points...

Long Island has also reportedly added former NBAer – and Brooklyn Net — Treveon Graham to the roster. The move is yet to be made official by the team. The other Long Islander trying to get back to the league, Jordan Crawford, finished with 13 points.

Former local tryout player Craig Randall continued his scoring ways with 23 points in 44 minutes, but struggled with efficiency, going 9-of-23 from the field and 5-of-16 from behind the arc.

With the Brooklyn Nets trying to find a new home for veteran big Paul Millsap, there are rumors that two-way wing Kessler Edwards may earn himself a standard contract, thus opening up a two-way deal, which would presumably go to Randall. No word on the Nets progress in moving Millsap.

Brooklyn’s other two-way forward, David Duke Jr., also shined in College Park. The 6’5” guard out of Providence scored 21 points in 30 minutes, while adding seven rebounds. He, too, struggled with efficiency, shooting a mere 8-of-20 from the field.

As for the Skyhawks, point guard Cat Barber had a team-high 26 points and seven assists in 37 minutes. Forward DaQuan Jeffries had a career-high four blocks as well.

Next, the Nets will begin a two-game mini series against the Lakeland Magic, the affiliate of Orlando. The first game will tip off on Friday at 7 p.m. and will air on exclusively.