Coming off back-to-back victories in Chicago against the Windy City Bulls, the Long Island Nets headed to Grand Rapids to take on the Gold — the G League affiliate of the Denver Nuggets — twice in three nights, finishing off their longest road trip of the season.
Entering this matchup on Monday night, Grand Rapids was just ahead of Long Island in the East G League standings, boasting a 9-6 record to the Nets’ 10-8. Afterwards, Long Island looked like the better team, demolishing Grand Rapids, 115-86.
Tyrone Wallace, the former Clipper and Hawk, had another strong game with 27 points, nine rebounds and four assists. The 6’5” guard is quickly becoming Long Island’s most efficient scorer — good on 10-of-15 shots Monday evening — and his 3-point shooting (5-of-7) doesn’t look like it will ever fall back down to earth. (Wallace currently has shooting splits of 59/51/78.)
Long Island’s nightly team leader in minutes, Craig Randall II, had yet another stellar performance. After recording a game-winner and triple-double in back-to-back games against the Bulls over the weekend, Randall followed it up with another triple-double against the Gold.
Even on a poor shooting night (4-of-11, 2-of-8), Randall posted 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.
Monday night’s game also marked the best performance of the year for Thon Maker, the former NBA lottery pick. Maker has had a slow start to the season after not playing NBA ball for a few months, but is beginning to find his footing. He scored 13 points against Grand Rapids and added eight rebounds.
With an opening few minutes marred by turnovers, the Nets and Gold both got off to a slow start. An incredibly tight first quarter featured twelve lead changes with the largest lead held by the Nets only five points but that only lasted just one possession. The two squads entered the second quarter with Grand Rapids up, 26-25.
As early as the second quarter marked the beginning of the end of Grand Rapids. After a two-point Treveon Graham free throw, Long Island tallied off five straight three pointers — across four different players – propelling the Nets on a 15-5 run.
The Nets then flipped the script and went back to attacking the rim, ending the half with the rare Maker 3-pointer to give Long Island a 53-41 lead entering the half.
Things went from good to great for the Nets in the third period of play, when they outscored the Gold 35-19 en route to a 30 point lead with a few minutes left.
Long Island held on to the big lead entering the fourth and they cruised to victory after 12 minutes of basketball with the game already out of reach.
Led by Wallace’s continued 3-point prowess, the Nets had yet another amazing night shooting the ball from deep. Long Island shot 17-of-39 (43.6 percent) from behind the arc with five different players hitting multiple long bombs. Grand Rapids could barely respond, landing on only seven of their 37 attempts (a paltry 18.9 percent).
Former Net Nik Stauskas, seeking an NBA comeback, finished with 11 points. Kenneth Faried, another former Net, did not play.
With the win, the Nets are now tied for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference G League standings, but currently in the No. 5 spot due to win percentage. The Nets can help solidify their standing with another win against the Gold on Wednesday. If the Capital City Go-Go and Delaware Blue Coats lose, Adam Caporn’s team could see Long Island soar as high as third entering the All-Star Break.
As previously mentioned, the Nets and Gold will face off once again on Wednesday night in each team’s last game before the All-Star break. The game will tip off at 7:00 p.m. ET and air exclusively on ESPN+.