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Donovan Williams scores 23 as Long Island Nets win over Greensboro Swarm

Greensboro Swarm v Long Island Nets Photo by Luther Schlaifer/NBAE via Getty Images

Donovan Williams is on a roll. After scoring 24 points in each of the Nets two G League Showcase games last week, the 6’6” wing tallied 23 vs. the Greensboro Swarm Tuesday night at Nassau Coliseum. Long Island defeated Greensboro Swarm 113-108, at Nassau Coliseum in front of 2,431 fans.

The win is the first in the G League’s regular season. Games leading up to the Showcase count toward the “Showcase Cup,” won last week in Las Vegas by the Ontario Clippers Now, the regular season begins, concluding with the G League playoffs in April. Combined, the Nets are now 11-8.

Williams recorded a team-high 23 points to go along with five rebounds and one assist in 33 minutes. He shot 6-of-12 including 3-of-7 from deep. David Duke Jr. (who let his braids down for this one) tallied 19 points, nine rebounds and six assists in 28 minutes. Day’Ron Sharpe posted his sixth double-double of the G League season with 10 points and 13 rebounds in 23 minutes. Additionally, Kessler Edwards scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds in 32 minutes.

Williams, who has a 40” max vertical and a 7-foot wingspan, showed off those tools as well Tuesday...

Another angle...

Williams, undrafted out of UNLV, is averaging 15.7 points a game for Long Island, playing in all 19 of their games. In the last four, though, he’s taken another step, becoming the team’s go-to scorer. In those games, he’s up to 22.5 in 31 minutes on shooting splits of 58/48/86. He’s also averaging 4.1 boards and 1.8 assists. In fact, he’s averaging more during that stretch than his three Brooklyn teammates, Duke Jr., Edwards and Sharpe. Alondes Williams, the Nets other two-way besides Duke, has been hurt. At 21, Donovan Williams is also the youngest player on the Long Island roster and only two months older than Sharpe, one month older than Cam Thomas.

The problem for the Nets organization is that they only hold Williams’ G League rights and unless they convert him to a two-way — and they currently don’t have a roster spot — they could lose him. Any NBA team can call him up and starting a week from Thursday, teams can bring in players on 10-day deals if they have empty roster slots. Said one league source of Williams, “He’s being noticed” by NBA scouts and the Nets could indeed lose him to another team.

In Tuesday’s game, Greensboro jumped to a quick 6-0 lead while Long Island attempted to close the gap with two shots from deep by forward Donovan Williams during the opening two minutes. The Nets failed to take the lead overall and went into the second quarter down by five, 32-27. Long Island got off to a hot start in the second quarter and went on its own 6-0 run, closing the five-point gap. The Nets continued their streak, shooting 16-of-26 from the field and outscoring the Swarm 39-22 in the quarter to lead by 12 at the halftime, 66-54.

The Swarm looked to battle back in the third quarter and were able to cut the lead to three. Long Island refused to let up and expanded its lead to eight to close the third period up 91-83. The Nets outrebounded the Swarm 11-7 in the final period and defeated Greensboro by five, 113-108.

Greensboro forward Jalen Crutcher tallied 28 points, one rebound and six assists in 41 minutes. Forward Xavier Sneed posted 24 points, seven rebounds and one assist in 36 minutes.

Long Island will face Greensboro again at home on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. ET. That game is at Nassau Coliseum as well.