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Nets sweep back-to-back against Lakeland Magic, head home with victory, 123-121

Long Island Nets v Lakeland Magic Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

The Long Island Nets arrived in the Sunshine State Saturday and took care of business against the Lakeland Magic in the second half of a back-to-back vs. the Magic’s affiliate. After escaping with a one-point victory against the Magic Friday night, the Nets harnessed that same magic (pun intended) for another down-to-the-wire win on Saturday night, 123-121.

With the win, Long Island is now 6-6, having played the most games of any G League team so far this season. They’re currently a half game out of the league playoffs.

After a close affair throughout the night, including 16 lead changes and nine ties, Long Island captured a double-digit lead midway through the final quarter of play fueled by a flurry of Craig Randall II 3-pointers.

The Magic fought back behind play from their two-way players, Ignas Brazdeikis and Admiral Schofield, but a clutch jump-shot — and then timely free throws — from David Duke Jr. sealed the victory late for the Nets.

After the initial matchup Friday in which both teams struggled to score at a high clip, the script flipped on Saturday night. Long Island shot 50 percent from the field and 42 percent from three while Lakeland bested even those numbers with marks of 53 on total field goal attempts and 50 percent from behind the three-point arc.

Randall II had yet another 35+ point game on Saturday, scoring 36 points, along with 3 assists, on 13-of-21 shooting from the field — including eight three-pointers on a total of sixteen attempts. Some of his threes were well beyond the arc...

It’s the 10th time in the last 12 games that Randall, signed by Long Island after a local tryout, has scored 20 or more points, Four times, he’s topped 30 and twice, 40, in the stretch that’s made him one of the league’s top scorers.

Veteran guard Jordan Crawford had himself a scoring night as well. Crawford scored 22 points off the bench for Long Island on 9-of-22 shooting, also nailing 4 of his 10 long-range attempts. Since the Nets have filled out their roster, the 33-year-old Crawford has played a most comfortable role, with his minutes no longer pushing 40+, he is not as “exhausted,” as Long Island head coach Adam Caporn often notes.

Brooklyn Nets two-way guard David Duke Jr. had himself an all-around showing on Saturday, scoring 19 points on 5-of-10 shooting, with four 3-pointers. As a young guard (22) who is still finding his way as a jump-shooter, that was an especially promising for his development.

Nets big RaiQuan Gray, who was a late second-round selection by Brooklyn in the 2021 NBA Draft continues to show improved play in the G League. He scored a highly efficient 18 points against Lakeland — 7-of-8 shooting — and showcased his playmaking chops with three assists. Gray also snagged eight rebounds for the Nets. Thon Maker played only 10 minutes and was 1-of-6 as he ramps up from being off since mid-December when he played in Israel.

Here are the game highlights:

Long Island will return home to play the Cleveland Charge on Wednesday, February 2nd. The game will air at 7 p.m. on ESPN+ and on the YES App.