The Long Island Nets escaped with a victory on the road against the Lakeland Magic, the G League affiliate team of the Orlando Magic, on Friday night in a 94-93 victory. The win marked the first of two back-to-back games against Lakeland. Despite a tight contest throughout the first three quarters of play, the Nets stretched a lead out to double-digits in the final quarter, only for Lakeland to come storming back.
Unlike Tuesday night’s contest against the College Park Skyhawks, Long Island was able to hang in for the victory late.
The first half was an extremely close affair between the Nets and Magic. Although Lakeland held a (small) lead for the majority of the half, Long Island was able to exit each quarter with a one-point advantage.
After the Magic attempted to create separation in the third quarter, the Nets responded immediately. Long Island started to pull away early in the fourth quarter, first with a pair of three-pointers from Bryce Brown and Ty Wallace. Threes finally started to fall, and then created turnovers.
The Magic made a last-second comeback in the final minute of play, but Craig Randall II calmly nailed two free throws with under 10 seconds remaining, and then avoided an intentional foul with just a few ticks left on the clock, sealing the ball game.
The Nets were led by four different starters, each scoring in double-digits. Craig Randall II led Long Island with 17 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. He struggled as a shooter, though, going 6-of-21 from the field.
A similar story on offense for Nets two-way player David Duke Jr., who scored 16 points on 5-of-16 shooting from the field. Duke contributed in a major way on the glass for Long Island, soaring in for 14 total rebounds, five coming on the offensive end.
Defensive forward Brandon Rachal was the most efficient double-digit scorer for Long Island, posting his 16 points on 4-of-10 shooting, and bringing it on the defensive side of the ball with three steals. Thon Maker who played 11 minutes in his G League debut got a little more action Friday night and used it well. The 7’1” Maker played 17 minutes and finished with eight points, six rebounds, three assists and a steal. He also made a key free throw late.
Poor shooting was a theme for the Nets on Friday night. The team only shot 35 percent from the field and 22 percent from three. Long Island overcoming those poor numbers only makes their victory even more impressive.
As for Lakeland, the Magic were led by Brendon Bailey, who was playing his first game with the team. Bailey scored 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the floor and 5-of-9 accuracy from behind the three-point arc.
The Nets will face off again against the Magic on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at the RP Funding Center, and the re-match will air on NBAGLeague.com.